The Support Association of the Erich Kästner Museum Dresden
The Support Association of the Erich Kästner Museum Dresden, founded in January 1999, was established to create a contemporary and unique center dedicated to the memory of the multi-faceted life and works of Erich Kästner. The museum is a communication forum for all who are interested in Erich Kästner's life and works. Main themes are, among others, Kästner and his early years in Dresden and Leipzig, Kästner as “the man between the chairs" or the reluctant outsider, Kästner and children as the "positive others," and Kästner and the media. Our public events include traditional readings, lectures and discussions, as well as experimental art events. Contemporary artists are invited to enter their projects in the database of the Erich Kästner Museum during brief working trips. We would like to encourage our partners in and outside of Dresden in the literature and library sectors, theatre, film and media to organize and present their own Kästner events.
Interested parties witnessed the development and expansion of the museum since its opening on our "construction site" in 1999 and have continued to support us. The micromuseum-to-be was simulated with a custom-made exhibition structure and its implementation was illustrated with changing presentations. Material was assembled and documented using audio and imaging technology at the beginning of the second planning phase, and visitors were encouraged to become involved. As a result, the museum has a considerable circle of friends: individuals and representatives from cultural, economic, scientific, political and media fields. A committee of experts advises the museum society on Kästner-specific topics.
The museum structure itself is not the only interactive phenomenon, its very growth is interactive. The objective was to largely make do without financial aid from the state. Approximately DM 12,000 was raised by selling the 200 Gubener felt hats at family festivities, at the special Kästner events and in shops in Dresden. These donations were doubled by the matching fund of the Bürgerstiftung Dresden, as were the payments in kind. In this way, the Erich Kästner Museum had over DM 85,000 at its disposal, and was able to finance the planning and construction services of the Deutschen Werkstätten Hellerau and purchase content for the museum. As the willingness to donate did not diminish, the first museum financed solely by the public was opened by Erich Kästner's 101st birthday on February 23, 2000. The first "module", a multimedia time machine, was open to visitors since then. The audio, video and computer technology with internet access within this module offers visitors material on Erich Kästner`s life and works. The thirteen columns were opened gradually as funds allowed, and in 2006 the last columns were completed and installed. The inventory and archives, however, continue to be developed and expanded on a regular basis with new acquisitions and donations.