A Short description of the exhibit for our English-speaking visitors
In Ehrhorn, in the Lüneburg Heath Nature Preserve, a forest visitors' center opened in May 2000. It houses an exhibition that avoids the well-worn cliches so often encountered in exhibitions dealing with forest or nature. Instead of displaying the animals and plants of the forest, it presents the ways in which people dealt with the forest in the course of history and the way they treat it now.
Man has always made use of nature and sometimes even exploited his natural environment to the point that he deprived himself of the environment's ability to sustain him. The little village of Ehrhorn and its history are bound up with the history of the surrounding landscape and of the people living there, and it is this connection that the exhibit explores.
Inside the Exhibit
But it is not just the exhibition itself which is rather unusual - it is also our way of presenting things which is special. For a lot of people, the word "exhibition" sounds like hard work. No wonder - it brings back memories of reading long texts and trying to understand more or less complicated models and diagrams. Abstract transfer of knowledge is not always fun - and usually aims at a restricted target group with a clearly defined level of understanding and previous experience. There is hardly any exhibition that is interesting to experts and little schoolchildren alike, the level being either too simple or too complex.
For this reason we tried a new concept to find a way to get a wider variety of people interested in what we believe to be a very good presentation of the interdependence of man and nature. Instead of presenting abstract information, we try to appeal to all the senses, thus offering ways of real experience: Paradise as a place of symbolic harmony between man and nature at the beginning of time is full of light and green and warmth. Walking on a soft ground the visitor enters a sheltered room and listens to the singing of the birds, the sounds of water and wind, the music of the spheres. "Paradise lost" on the other hand is a deserted space, no sounds of life, hard ground - and sand on big wooden sheets hanging from the ceiling threatening to bury everything under its shroud. Desertification, the scientific term, is not even mentioned in this exhibition, where approaches on many levels (symbolic, artistic and scientific) combine and complete each other. The plates of sand hovering over the visitors' head make the threat, once again, a real experience - for every visitor.