Erich Kästner Museum
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The Erich Kästner Museum is a museum about the author, poet, screenwriter and satirist Erich Kästner in Dresden, the capital of Saxony, Germany, where Kästner was born and raised. Its focus are Kästner's early years in Dresden and Leipzig, the connections between his work and children, and his relationship to the media.
Established in 1999, the museum opened in early 2000 in celebration of the 101st anniversary of Kästner's birth in the Villa Augustin at the Albertplatz in the Innere Neustadt (inner new town). The villa was formerly owned and inhabited by Erich Kästner's maternal uncle Franz Augustin, a horse trader, and Kästner regularly visited it as a youth. In his autobiographical novel When I was a little boy (German: Als ich ein kleiner Junge war) he refers to it and many places in the vicinity. The museum has a bronze sculpture by the Hungarian artist Mathyas Varga of one such remembered scene, Kästner as a boy perched on the wall, looking out into the bustling square and listening to the trams. In fact, Erich Kästner's childhood memories of Villa Augustin served him as an anchor point for inspiration. For example, the main characters of Pünktchen und Anton (Anna Louise and Anton) are named after his cousin Dora Augustin, nicknamed "Pünktchen" (little dots), and the adjacent street Antonstraße.
The museum was funded entirely by private donations, organised by the Förderverein für das Erich Kästner Museum / Dresdner Literaturbüro. It focuses on Kästner's years in Dresden and Leipzig, the connections between his work and children, and his relationship to the media.
In his 1998 design, the Irish architect Ruairí O'Brien conceived of the museum as a "walkable treasure-chest" with core principles of mobility, interaction, and compactness, in other words a mobile, interactive micromuseum. Installed on the ground floor, it takes up no more than a single 30 square metres (320 sq ft) room, within which are 13 mobile modules, each with drawers color-coded to signify an aspect of Erich Kästner's life and work. With the exception of original exhibits from Kästner's estate, visitors are encouraged to touch, read, and try out whatever they can find. In the center of the modules, the core element exhibits selected items from Kästner's estate. In 2002, the museum was awarded the Museum Prize by the Kulturstiftung-hbs foundation for its innovative open character and its audacious miniature scale.
- Dresden, Baedeker Reiseführer, 2013, ISBN 9783829791816, p. 243 (German)
- Eckhard Bahr, Dresden: mit Meißen, Radebeul und Sächsischer Schweiz, Berlin: Trescher, 2010, ISBN 9783897941564, p. 149 (German)
- Erich Kästner Museum, Dresden, Citysam Dresden, retrieved 26 May 2014 (German)
- Wer wir sind, Literaturhaus Villa Augustin, retrieved 26 May 2014 (German)
- Erich Kästner Museum, Mobil.Dresden.de, City of Dresden, retrieved 26 May 2014 (German)
- Laudatio zum Preis Dresden, Kulturstiftung-hbs, retrieved 27 May 2014 (German)