By Arndt Krödel
Heidelberg. Allow me: the Zuber family from Mühlingstrasse 16 in Handschuhsheim. Father Friedrich works as a waiter in the old town, his wife Gretchen runs the household and organizes everyday life. Daughter Lotte is just starting the Protestant kindergarten, her older brother Heinz is in elementary school. The Zubers welcome visitors who have come through the wide gate entrance to the house of the “Blue Home” – so named after the striking facade color of the settlement – in their cozy three-room ground floor apartment. The year is 1927.
The scene is pure fiction, but the family might actually have existed in one way or another, and the apartment looks like it might have looked in the 1920s. Built by the then municipal housing association GGH, it has now been lavishly restored to its original structural condition on the occasion of its 100th anniversary. In future, as Heidelberg’s newest museum, it will provide insights into life 100 years ago and, together with a permanent exhibition three houses down, will form an ensemble on the history of residential construction in Heidelberg. Even before the opening, GGH press spokeswoman Kerstin Zyber-Bayer gave the RNZ an exclusive tour of the new, old rooms.
A Friedrich Zuber can actually be historically documented as the first tenant of the apartment. No further information was known about him, so the museum planners invented a family for him in order to convey the project as clearly as possible. With a lot of love for detail and an eye for the big picture, an authentic living world of the “golden” twenties was created, in which a person of the 21st century can immerse himself sensually. There is the good, almost never used Biedermeier room, in which the radio of the “Graetz” brand with the readable scale of European medium or long wave transmitters is, very modern at the time. Or the wood-fired stove in the kitchen, the heavy cast iron floor broom with a ball joint, the wicker carpet beater. Some of the furniture and everyday objects come from the Beuren open-air museum or from private property.
For the standards of the time, the tubs were alives modern, even had a bathroom with a hot water boiler and toilet. In the kitchen-cum-living-room, the main residence, the issue of “Heidelberger Neuesten Nachrichten” dated May 23, 1927 (lead: “Lindbergh’s flight over the ocean – 33 1/2 flight hours”) hangs in a newspaper holder on the wall, in which the couple the cinema program also found: Both liked to go to the “Tanzsaal Bachlenz” in the Mühltalstraße (today the house of Heidelberg Judo Clubs), where films were shown regularly. Heinz and Lotte keep their simple toys, mostly made of wood, in a Vertiko; the family cannot afford more.
The apartment is a museum in which touching is expressly encouraged: More than 20 “history points” are hidden in furniture and objects, which provide background information on living conditions at the time. When entering the individual rooms, motion detectors trigger an audio system that plays fictional family conversations recorded by members of the Heidelberg theater. And even the noses of the visitors are stimulated by fragrance stones at certain stations of the exhibition – here it smells of lavender, there of freshly baked marble cake or freshly brewed coffee. A full sensual experience.
Info: The GGH’s museum apartment at Mühlingstrasse 16 and the permanent exhibition at Mühlingstrasse 22 can be viewed on the second Sunday of the month as well as Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Admission is free. Group visits are possible on request. The official opening with the marquee will take place on Wednesday, September 22nd, from 3 p.m. in the courtyard of the “Blue home“(Access at Mühlingstrasse 16). The first day of the museum is September 28th.