• VG0I8797_Oma © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Inge Prader
  • IntergenIII_050UBT © Ursula Brunner -Trojan
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Volksschule Leystraße 34

Getting the generations together

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“Mr H. is always very funny. He is a wise old man. Whenever we ask him something, he always knows the answer and how to explain it. He’s just a very wise pensioner.” – Dragan, 10

In 2007 the Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Technical Museum) launched its project entitled “klarsicht07 – Learning in the second half of life”. Together with a focus group and a specialist in learning for the elderly we surveyed the interests of senior citizens and what they would like to see the cultural institution provide, and what sort of special education offers.

In 2008 the project eventually gave rise to the idea of “Getting the generations together”.
Senior citizens and children of primary school age meet up at the Technisches Museum Wien and exchange their knowledge and experience on a given subject. Both groups – senior citizens and schoolchildren – are experts on their respective generations. This serves to break down prejudice and helps boost a mutual understanding for the other group.

Learning from one another – with one another – about one another

A set topic – for example, Was environmental protection an issue when you were little? – is discussed in small groups comprised of one senior citizen and three or four schoolchildren. Were there just as many cars on the road back then? As they chat away, the participants get an insight into one another’s lives.

These inter-generational exchanges are characterised by a social aspect, a mutual mediation of knowledge, work in small groups, and research-based learning. The project promotes co-constructive education processes.

Project timeline:

So far there have been four sessions aimed at getting the generations together, each tied in with current exhibitions at the Technisches Museum Wien:
2008 Environmental protection (Efficient Mobility-Zero Emission)
2009 Eating culture (Matters of taste)
2011 Music (make.music)
2012 AT WORK
Another exchange is planned for 2013 to tie in with the exhibition ROBOTS. MAN AND MACHINE?

Each project is hosted by two museum educators and a specialist in learning for the elderly. And each session is preceded by discussions with the classroom teacher, followed by an initial get-together between the participating senior citizens and the teacher.

The meetings between the senior citizens and the pupils are structured as follows:

  • Get-to-know-you session at the school
  • 2-3 work meetings at the Museum
  • Farewell party at the school

The format was developed by Beatrix Hain and Wencke Maderbacher (Education Department) in close co-operation with geragogics specialist Ursula Brunner-Trojan. The project has been carried out since 2012 by Maria Bruck and Manuela Gallistl. The primary school at Leystrasse 34 has been our loyal partner school throughout the project.

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