Exhibit Inspiration – Sweaty Mammoths and Roman Locks


Freiburg’s Colombischlössle Archaeological Museum (or “The Colombi” for those of us who still can’t manage umlauts) has an amazing collection of artifacts from Freiburg’s history, from the Stone Age through the Romans and up to the Middle Ages. But there are two things at the museum that recently caught my eye.

The first is the poster for their new children’s exhibit on the end of the last Ice Age: “When the Mammoth Began to Sweat.”


How fabulous is that title? I love the layers of meaning behind “sweat,” and how the title focuses on an experience/result of the changing climate, rather than just calling it “The End of the Ice Age.” The artifacts arranged like sunbeams are also a great visual. And the toy mammoth? I die! The poster does a great job of being geared towards children without resorting to cartoons or unnecessary exclamation points.

The second is a replica of a Roman bolt lock and key. What I like here are the layers to the interactive experience of trying to unlock the lock. Just like in any door, you can’t see the inside of the lock from the outside. However, the clever use of a mirror lets you see how the key inserts into the lock and how the locking/unlocking mechanism works. And it’s not as easy to do as you might think…





The design is so elegant and simple – just a mirror – and the interaction is so engaging. I’m going to remember this and copy it be inspired by it later.

Thanks to my husband for being a fantastic lock model. I see a successful career in boat shows in his future.

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