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The permanent collection in the Elementarium: Theme-based world of ideas

Pose questions and pursue ideas, allow yourself to be spurred on by curiosity. The museum’s rooftop area is the “top floor of knowledge”. Microscopes, folios, old maps and card indexes need to be collected first. We’ll find out later what’s important. Which is how tree trunks, sound recordings, books can be found next to each other - in brief: tools that help researchers look for answers. The result is an ideal place to browse and linger, search and discover, or simply to let your mind wander.

Theme-based world of ideas ©Museum der Westlausitz

Sometimes an idea pops up in the top floor of our minds - an image of how something might work, what it might have looked like in the past, what the solution to a problem might be. In the top floor of our museum we have assembled a number of things that can help researchers bring ideas to life or find answers to questions.

Querying and searching, collecting and sorting, measuring and comparing: researchers’ activities have more or less remained the same. What has undergone rapid change, however, are the tools they use - where once they employed a superior magnifying glass, today it is a scanning electron microscope; where once they drew a map by eye, today they take satellite photos from space.

Dendrochronology, biostratigraphy, radiocarbon dating - on your way up to the museum’s top floor, you will keep coming across the results of what sound like highly complex methods. But how do you determine the age of trees, fossils or animal bones? And where are the boundaries of science?

Not everything can be measured, determined and explained with the help of modern science. Often a feeling or a hunch, an almost forgotten tale or a simple place name will provide the clue that an elaborate computer analysis never would have yielded. Which myths still exist in West Lusatia and what do they sound like when told in their original dialect? Where do the names of towns and villages actually originate and what do they mean? What have animals got to do with religion?


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