Dear Deutsche Museum,

I like you, I really do. You are at the top of my list of attractions to visit in Munich. I had a ridiculously fun time roaming through all of your exhibits and halls, and I became acutely aware of how little I know about … well, everything.

In particular, I enjoyed the Astronomy exhibits. I mean, really, what’s cooler than space? The answer is NOTHING.

NOTHING IS COOLER THAN SPACE.

So I geeked out, pressed my nose against the cases that held old telescopes, marveled at actual pieces of a real space station, and had a grand old time, right up until I saw this:

How do you say "WTF" in German?

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UM, WTF DEUTSCHE MUSEUM? THERE IS A GIANT SIDEREAL SWASTIKA HANGING ON YOUR WALL. HOW DID NO ONE NOTICE THIS?

I appreciate that you are trying to show visitors how constellations appear differently in the sky during different times of the year. That’s an important thing to know. In fact, James Cameron actually changed the sky above Rose and Jack in his re-release of Titanic after Neil DeGrasse Tyson pointed out that it wasn’t accurate in the original (the constellations that appeared in the sky were not the ones that would have been visible, given their time and location).

That being said, COULDN’T YOU HAVE PICKED ANOTHER CONSTELLATION BESIDES THE BIG DIPPER? SERIOUSLY. THERE WERE LOADS OF OTHER ONES TO CHOOSE FROM.

May I suggest “Schwan”? Or “Slangentrager”(The Serpent Holder)?

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ALSO, DO YOU REALIZE HOW BAD THINGS ARE WHEN I SUGGEST SOMETHING CALLED “THE SERPENT HOLDER” AS A PREFERABLE ALTERNATIVE?

Look: I realize that was probably just a huge oversight. I do. And I know that I have a very sensitive eye for this sort of thing (I once spotted swastiskas in the facade of the Brooklyn Academy of Music and promptly freaked out, even though the building predates WWII by decades). But it really seems like someone should have caught this. I mean, it’s ginormous. And obvious. And – hello – IT’S AT THE DEUTSCHE MUSEUM. THIS IS NOT THE IMPRESSION YOU WANT TO CULTIVATE AMONGST TOURISTS.

I was hoping this was an isolated oversight, but then I saw your exhibit on digital printing:

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Let’s take a closer look at that poster on the bottom left …

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YOU HAVE A CONFEDERATE FLAG HANGING RIGHT NEXT TO A PICTURE OF AN ADORABLE TEDDY BEAR. EXPLAIN TO ME WHY, OUT OF THE MILLIONS OF PICTURES AND ILLUSTRATIONS YOU COULD HAVE USED, YOU WENT WITH ONE OF THE MOST POLARIZING IMAGES IN AMERICAN HISTORY.

Call me when you fix this, okay? I’m going to go lie down. All this capslock yelling is exhausting.

Sincerely,

G

Full list of categories:  WTF » WTF Wednesdays
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Comments (11)

  1. 25. Apr, 2012 / weezafish:

    I wish someone would come up with a better way than ‘LOL’ of expressing in type that “you make me laugh like I’m on happy gas at the dentist”. Oo, I just did! YMMLLIOHGATD. Catchy ey?

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  2. 25. Apr, 2012 / Colleen Kelly Mellor:

    Yes, ‘polarizing’ is correct description of what this symbol (and the swastika) evokes. Here’s one on a grave in the sweet little town of Beaufort, South Carolina, where the Confederate flags are freshly bought and adorn the graves of Confederate soldiers…. http://biddybytes.com/?p=645

    Tough to comprehend when it’s local venue such as a community graveyard–even more bewildering when we see signs (even if subtle) of such in national or state museums.

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  3. 25. Apr, 2012 / Colleen Kelly Mellor:

    Seems to be a topic for the day…

    http://now.msn.com/now/0424-confederate-flag-prom-dress.aspx

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  4. Dearest Geraldine,

    Good for you! You actually USE your eyes + your COMMON SENSE! Oh, it is such a shame to spot huge over sights like this in our modern culture. Culture… or are we sliding off high speed?!
    I’ve been credited, by a lawyer, for spotting errors a mile away in writings. You are one like that too but it is aggravating and it shows such ignorance.
    Love to you,

    Mariette

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  5. 25. Apr, 2012 / kokopuff:

    Hubby and I once viewed an older home in Detroit…built in the ’20s. Had beautiful, hand made tiles lining the foyer. With swastika designs all over them. Took me aback until I remembered the date. And that the Germans had “borrowed” the swastika from the ancient Indians…it’s been around for 3000 years plus.

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  6. 25. Apr, 2012 / Paige C. Willey:

    You bring up valid points. I am, however, not surprised given the quality of this museum. Is that poster board? Are those thumbtacks? Who is curating this museum? It looks like a elementary school parents’ night exhibit.

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  7. 26. Apr, 2012 / Jeff:

    Yeah, recently came back from Hong Kong. Two days at Disneyland – cleansed the following day by visiting the giant Bronze Buddha statue on Lantau island. Initially off-putting to see a reversed swastika on the Buddha’s chest. Very angry that what should be a symbol of beautiful things feels tainted.

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  8. 30. Apr, 2012 / Animesh Ray:

    Come on now, what’s wrong with you Americans? I think you will be shocked to bits if you ever come to India.

    Get over it. Its just a symbol. Its been there for thousands of years. Just because a mass murderer likes it, you just can’t go banishing a symbol.

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    observer Reply:

    Nothing wrong with Americans. Indian statuary can use the symbol in the context in which it originated. You won’t get any arguments from anyone. But in the context of the Deutche Musuem, it is NOT “just a symbol” or an “ancient symbol”. It is a symbol used by that country for the most heinous of crimes. You simply can’t undo that.

    Frankly, I don’t believe it’s an oversight.

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  9. 02. May, 2012 / Tia:

    Its truly sad that the symbol and word ‘Swastika’, which literally translates to ‘auspicious’, has been relegated to feelings of terror and genocide. The Sanskrit word and symbol has been around since 3300 BC and is used till date by Hindus as a holy symbol during every religious ceremony. I also find it strange that this symbol is still being paraded around by ‘white supremacist’ groups with their racist agendas when it isn’t even a ‘white’ symbol in the first place!

    Maybe we should all collectively ban the ideas of nazism but not the symbol or the word Swastika, because that symbol has been used for holy, auspicious and spiritual beginnings for thousands of years before Hitler conveniently “borrowed” it.

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  10. 14. May, 2012 / Tobias:

    I feel like I have to point out that the Swastika-illustration just shows that in the for seasons the Big Dipper is to be found at different places in the nightsky, but always in the same distace to the North Star – that would be in the center.

    This is rather basic knowledge of constellations and navigation.

    So wheather or not this diagram hurts anyones sensibilities, it is what it is…

    Meaning to say I doubt this in particular will be fixed, because there is nothing to fix.

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