Our annual program 2021: Vorsicht! Umsicht: Rücksicht. Unsere Sicht auf Gesundheit und Wohlergehen

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The 300th anniversary of the founding of Europe’s first children’s hospital in 1721 is the occasion for the Francke Foundations’ 2021 annual program on health and well-being.

Das Logo des Jahresprogramms ist ein Auge auf rotem Grund
(© Thomas Meinicke)

Exactly 300 years ago, medical history was made at the Francke Foundations: August Hermann Francke (1663–1727) had a hospital building built in 1721, which today can be considered the first children’s hospital in Europe. To mark the historical and current occasion, the Francke Foundations are dedicating their annual program in 2021 to the theme Vorsicht! Umsicht: Rücksicht. Unsere Sicht auf Gesundheit und Wohlergehen.

The program kicks off with the digital Francke Celebration from March 19 to 21, 2021. The festive event marking the 358th birthday of the founder, August Hermann Francke, focuses on the successful completion of the Francke Foundations’ reconstruction.

At the center of the program is the annual exhibition (May 2–October 13) entitled »Healing Body and Soul. Medicine and Hygiene in the 18th Century«, which will open May 2 with renowned criminal biologist Dr. Mark Benecke.

In 2021, »Suddenlife Gaming« will be developed as part of the museum’s outreach work, a new online format in which children (ages 6–12) and families become part of an exciting story they help create through transmedia storytelling. The museum comes to your home and the users’ interactions become part of the museum.
The project is carried out within the framework of »dive in. Program for Digital Interactions« of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) in the NEUSTART KULTUR program.

In the 2021 event program, according to possibilities on site or in a live stream, we will again welcome renowned guests with exciting topics. On June 3, 2021, Peter Maffay will be a guest in the series »Persönlichkeiten im Gespräch« with MDR Head of Culture Reinhard Bärenz, talking about his life and his social commitment to children and families. On July 3, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, one of the leading intellectuals of our time, will be the guest of the first Paul Raabe Lecture at the Francke Foundations. Prof. Dr. Jakob Vogel, an internationally renowned expert on modern European history and European colonialism, will speak at the Halle Lectures on April 29 on » Aufklärung Postkolonial? Globale Wissenschaftsgeschichte und die Herausforderungen des Exotismus«. The program accompanying the annual exhibition offers four major theme evenings in fall, in which numerous experts will discuss questions about body, soul and mind, but also about medicines and economics, as well as hygiene and fear of illness, and the medicalization of medicine.

The international networking activities of the Francke Foundations are bearing new fruit: the »Alliance of Early Universal Museums«, founded at the instigation of the Francke Foundations 2020 in Halle, will meet on May 28, 2021 in the Teylers Museum in Haarlem (Netherlands). Here, several institutions of European standing will be admitted as new members to the network and a major meeting will be prepared in St. Petersburg in 2022.

But the Francke Foundations are also active locally: For the first citywide cultural theme year of an entire theme year decade, they have taken over the lead artistic direction. More than 80 players will get the city's society moving with around 100 events and spend a year addressing the topics of salt and digitization.

In addition to other contributions to the theme year, the Francke Foundations are continuously pursuing the digitization of their exhibitions with the project »Digitalisierung der Salzkothe in der Kunst- und Naturalienkammer«. State-of-the-art technology also allows users to look inside the 300-year-old salt cot model of the Wunderkammer and follow the process of salt boiling 300 years ago with their own eyes in an animation.