One thing we know for sure today: in the future, we will have major challenges to overcome. How can we get climate change under control? Which technologies do we want to use in the future? How do we want to live together as a society? Are there any alternatives to ‘higher, further, faster’? The future also rises from our decisions and actions in the present. For this reason, Futurium wants to inspire all of its visitors themselves with the future and to play a part in shaping it.
For anyone who is interested in what will happen in the future, a visit to Futurium is for sure a good first step to broaden your interest, knowledge and possibilities for involvement. There are three rooms in the Futurium; the exhibition where different possible futures are presented, the Forum where scientists, artists, visionaries and doers are brought together and the Futurium Lab where you can try things out, such as creative workshops.
Sarah Elsheikh, a Dutch student living in Berlin, sees the Futurium museum as one of the acquisitions for the German capital. She has already visited the Futurium museum a few times and she certainly recommends this to everyone. Sarah: “The Futurium museum is a modern form of art. As an art student, I am certainly impressed by this. – The Futurium represent a good view of various options for the shape of the future, and all this in an interactive way with its visitors.” During the corona period, the museum had a hard time – because of the free entrance and several corona measures, the museum had to survive by sponsors, investments and subsidies.
We walk with Sarah to the museum, where there is already a long queue waiting. “It’s almost every day this busy, I often cycle across this when I go to college and there is already a long queue waiting at 10AM, the museum is very popular by the population outside Berlin and by tourists.”, says Sarah. When we asked what makes the museum so popular, Sarah has a clear answer: social media. “Since the museum has responded to several social media trends such as TikTok and Instagram, the museum has gained more visitors. A different audience has also been drawn here, namely a younger audience,” says Sarah. According to Sarah, it is not even the museum that is located on these channels, but mainly the new young audience that breathes new life into the museum.
Unfortunately, it was not possible to speak to the owner, manager or an employee of the museum during our visit to the Futurium. But luckily we were able to interview various visitors about their experience, and of course the pressing question: how do they see the future? For example, seventeen-year-old Emma Schmidt said she was very impressed by all the lights, sounds and equipment in the museum. “I see the future as a world where there will be a lot of technology, from robots that take over humans work, state-of-the-art hospitals and self-driving cars,” says Emma. However Emma, as a brand new young adult, is afraid of the fear associated with this new technology. Emma: “the more technology, the greater the chance of abuse of power and bigger wars.”
Forty-two-year-old Markus Weber is also amazed by the museum. Together with his wife and two children they are on a city trip to Berlin, they live in the south of Germany. “When I told them at work that we were going to Berlin during the school holidays, a colleague advised me to go here, mainly because of the fun interaction for the children,” says Markus. And the interaction is certainly something we do not have to question, there is more than enough to do for the children. With a bracelet from robot Pepper, visitors can scan their wrists for whatever subject that interests them. You can have the bracelet read out at the end of the museum.
There is also plenty to do in the Futurium Lab (which has a separate queue inside the museum); from games, to TikTok filters and dances. In brief, the museum is a good family activity, especially with younger children. On the question how Markus sees the future, he has an clear answer: “With everything that is going on in the world right now, he sees a dark future for his children, all he can do now is enjoy his family even more and hope that the world will not be destroyed by the arrival of new technology and new wars.”
For those who are interested in the future and want to have an interactive afternoon in Berlin, the Futurium is the place to be. Whether the future will actually look like what the Futurium is representing will only time tell us. Let’s hope we all stick around long enough to see that happen.