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Exhibitions of the German Museum of Books an Writing

Signs - Books - Networks: From Cuneiform to Binary Code // Permanent exhibition at the German Museum of Books and Writing // German National Library in Leipzig

Tally sticks, anatomy textbooks, neon signs, disguised publications, gravestones, novels or love letters: for more than 5,000 years now people have been recording their knowledge about the world, their messages and impressions using written characters. Before writing was invented, people passed information from generation to generation by word of mouth, whereas writing, book printing and computers then allowed knowledge to be stored in a lasting form. The permanent exhibition of the German Museum of Books and Writing provides a brief history of human media based on the three media innovations.

The permanent exhibition has been designed as a "world of experience" to encourage exploration of earlier forms of communication, memory and writing systems, "old" book forms, recording methods and medieval book art which re-examine the historical achievement of Johannes Gutenberg, to open up "worlds of reading", to report on censorship in its different forms and to present masterpieces of modern book art. The intention is for visitors to the exhibition to actively explore the A to Z of 19th century industrialisation milestones and the rapid development of media from the start of the 20th century right up to the present day when the book has relinquished its role as the primary medium and now has to compete with radio, television and digital media.

The permanent exhibition received the "Antiquaria-Preis for Buchkultur" on 24 January 2013. In his eulogy, Hannes Hintermeier, editor of the FAZ features section, emphasised how the exhibition had succeeded in addressing a very broad topic in an academically and aesthetically faithful manner yet without losing sight of the wider audience. The jury justified its decision thus: "The judiciously chosen route from cuneiform through to digital technologies appeals to specialists and non-specialists alike and triggers an enthusiastic response."

Video on permanent exhibition
Exhibition images

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Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10:00–18:00, Thursday 10:00–20:00, public holidays 10:00–18:00.
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Last update: 20.11.2017

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