New highlights in the Neanderthal Museum for the 25th anniversary


For the 25th anniversary of the Neanderthal Museum in October 2021, parts of the permanent exhibition have been revised. Thanks to significant financial support from the NRW Foundation and funding from the Landschaftsverband Rheinland, the HABRIS Foundation and the Neanderthaler-Gesellschaft e.V., new highlights could be created.

The “Africa Map”, which shows the beginnings of humankind in Africa, was brought up to date with the latest research and appears in a new look.

The “protagonist” and sympathy bearer of the museum, “Mr. N”, shines as a star on a pedestal in the spotlight. His dark skin colour is special. Never before has a Neanderthal figure been reconstructed with a dark skin tone. However, current research proves that Neanderthals also had a wide variance in skin pigmentation. The Dutch artists Adrie and Alfons Kennis have made a new reconstruction of “Mr. N” on this scientific basis.

The encounters of our Ice Age ancestors and relatives and their intermingling continue to be the focus of our human evolution. The smart Neanderthal “Mr. 4%”, leans against the parapet in his new outfit and talks about these encounters. He invites visitors to consider the question of how we encounter each other today, how we perceive strangeness or familiarity in relation to other people. A new staging in the tunnel creates space for encounters between museum visitors.

Photo: ©Neanderthal Museum – Holger Neumann

In a new section of the exhibition, everything revolves around the topic of “climate”. The climate has always had a significant influence on our human development. Appealing exhibits show how we can reconstruct the climate of the past, what effects climate fluctuations had on population groups and how climate change in the Ice Age differs from today.

The Hamburg artist, Uta Röttgers, has impressively illustrated the changes in flora and fauna during the alternation of cold and warm periods on a nine-metre-long, backlit mural. In front of this “climate wall”, visitors can touch exhibits of animals and plants that were typical of the fauna and landscape at that time.

The lifelike reconstruction of a baby mammoth will be a new favourite with great appeal, especially for the youngest visitors. The fluffy woolly mammoth was made for the Neanderthal Museum by the Dutch company Manimalworks with expert advice from the well-known mammoth expert Dick Mol. A special eye-catcher will be a glass herbarium showing the diversity of the post-glacial plant world.

Just in time for the anniversary, the Neanderthal girl “Kina” returns from her trip to the Moesgaard Museum from Aarhus. She was on display there as part of a Neanderthal exhibition conceived in cooperation with the Neanderthal Museum. From October onwards, she will once again welcome visitors to the Neanderthal Museum with a mischievous smile and tell them personally about the life of a Stone Age child.

Visitors can look forward to a varied exhibition waiting to be discovered from 9 October 2021.

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