I was a little dubious at first about spending some of our precious Berlin time at the Deutsches Technikmuseum--it seemed more like a standard US science museum than something especially German--but it was freezing cold, and at least the Technikmuseum was inside.
Although the museum is obviously more used to locals visiting than tourists, we found it easy to navigate. Most displays didn't have English interpretive labels, but we could figure out enough to enjoy them (a massive loom! a train!) and within a few minutes of arriving, Eleanor had announced, "This is one of my favorite museums ever."
The museum has four parts: trains, boats, airplanes, and other stuff. In the railroad section, Eleanor and Isaac got to operate a model train (and earned candy and a button for their efforts!) along with German kids.
We clambered around trains from every decade of the 150 years, including one exhibit quietly memorializing the victims of the Holocaust and the role of the railroads in their death (though the Holocaust is definitely not the main focus of this museum).
The airplane level was a little spooky since several of the planes on display are proudly painted with swastikas and one from World War II had a cartoon-like drawing of a dog shaking an American plane in its mouth. Old men combed through the displays of German military insignia with the same look of nostalgia I see among American veterans in military museums.
The ship level had both models of ships and actual boats and ships. We loved tying knots and raising and lowering sails.
The parts of the museum where we spent the most time, though, were in the "Other Stuff" category. We all loved the hands-on math exhibit.
Some art historians believe that major Renaissance artists used camera obscuras as a tool in their painting.
Whether Vermeer used one or not, it's really fun to draw portraits with one. Here's our family's camera obscura portrait gallery:
|Ruth's portrait of Ed and David's portrait of Emma Lucy|
|Edward's portrait of me and Eleanor's portrait of Edward|
|Emma Lucy's portrait of Ruth and Isaac's of Edward|
If the photos today seem particularly great, it's because Edward took almost all of them.