Why do people become heroes? facts and fiction breathed life into the heroic myth with an exhibition designed not only appeal to classic museum visitor. 850 exhibits from renowned museums presented a multifaceted panorama of heroes ancient and modern.
Each epoch and each culture has its own heroes. But why do some individuals become heroes and what makes them stand out?
The Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe invited facts und fiction to develop a meaningful exhibition help answering this and other heroic questions. History was being made and with no time to waste we drew together 850 exhibits from famous museums all over the world in a exhibition covering 1,200 square metres entitled ‘Heroes. Longing for something special’.
Providing the exhibition venue, the Industriemuseum Henrichshütte at Hattingen has its very own heroic history: 20 years ago, a whole region fought against the closure of the steel mill and celebrated its leaders.
The exhibition featured ten individually designed areas reflecting the wide variety of interpretations of the term ‘hero’: from the centuries-old heroic myth to the TV hero-of-the-day, from the birth of European culture to the local heroes of the Ruhr region.
Each thematic area had an individual space and atmosphere. At the same time exhibits were brought into relation with each other by visual axes enabling an analogy to be drawn between the ancient hero Hercules and his modern equivalent Superman.
Whether it was Hercules fighting lions or Siegfried killing the dragon; the medals and burial grounds of nameless war heroes or the boxing world champion Max Schmeling and his use in Nazi propaganda; the rabbit box made from prefabricated slabs from the former GDR, with Lenin hanging on a crane hook to visualise the fall of socialist heroes; the jacket of TV police inspector Schimanski, or a melted steel beam and a fire-fighter helmet found in the debris of the World Trade Centre – the exhibition always maintained its critical distance and also presented the dark side of the heroic myths.