The core exhibition is the very heart of Forum Wissen. On two floors, it extends over an area of 1,400 m². It takes visitors on a journey through three “Prologue Spaces” and 12 “Spaces of Knowledge”. Its central theme is the production of knowledge: How and where is knowledge produced, disseminated and corroborated? Which actors are involved – which people, things or contexts? The majority of the exhibits come from the collections of the University of Göttingen. Based on these local object collections, constellations and narratives, the exhibition presents various general principles of how knowledge is created.


Three prologue spaces on the ground floor introduce the overarching principle of the exhibition: Perspectives, practices and connections play an essential role in the process of knowledge creation.

In the first area, Perspectives, a selection of rather unusual heads welcomes visitors and alerts them to the significance of gaze, vantage point and perspectives on which all knowledge depends, whether in science or in the exhibition . Audio statements comment the exhibits from different standpoints. They are available for selected objects throughout the rest of the tour. Implicitly, the question is asked again and again: Who is speaking in this exhibition, from what position and how audibly?

The second area introduces the principle of Practices. An expansive film collage shows sequences of everyday activities, procedures and hand movements. The aim is to draw the visitors’ attention to the many small steps, the often inconspicuous, not infrequently invisible actions in specific spatial and social settings on which scientific knowledge is based. In the “knowledge spaces” of the exhibition, these films some of which are commented on by the protagonists appear again and again. They enter into a dialogue with the predominantly historical exhibits.

The third area, Connections, introduces the geopolitical dimension of knowledge creation and locates Göttingen in a global context. The object biographies of eleven selected exhibits or groups of exhibits from different collections can be accessed via a digital map installation. The stories focus on the mobility of people and things: The objects travel through different hands and times, across borders and minds, with different means, for different purposes, with far-reaching consequences for the fabrication of scientific knowledge. The principle of translocation and mobility of things, which can have different effects and can change their meaning depending on the context, is taken up again in the following spaces.

“Core exhibition”

The main part of the Spaces of Knowledge is located on the upper floor. Each of the 12 rooms is associated with its own questions, themes and knowledge practices. The “Museum” room presents a traditional form of knowledge communication with its core tasks of researching, preserving, collecting, presenting and communicating and takes up the history of Göttingen’s university museums. The “Cabinets” room is all about the scientific practice of ordering and classifiation and about the (im)possibility of putting people, animals and plants into fixed categories. The “Laboratory” and the “Field” present iconic spaces of academic research. The “Desk” deals with knowledge practices that take place around the desk, such as transcribing, correcting, commenting or publishing. The “Workshop” presents craft work as part of academic knowledge production. The “Studio”, on the other hand, is about techniques of visualisation and the role of images in the academic process of knowledge creation. The “Blind alley” symbolises error, failure and rethinking in the context of research; the “Market” focuses on the laws of the market economy and their significance for knowledge creation. The exceptionally designed “Salon” provides insights into scientific debates of the past and present. The basic exhibition also includes ‘classical’ spaces of knowledge such as the “Library” or the “Lecture Hall”.

In addition, the core exhibition is characterised by its dynamism: Current topics from science and research from various disciplines as well as artistic interventions are presented in constant rotation in so-called open spaces distributed throughout the exhibition.

Different media installations support the core exhibition alongside the historico-cultural exhibits. A continuous track of films presents research and teaching practices via monitors and space-defining projections. Short audio statements by a variety of actors from inside and outside the university cast different perspectives on things and topics. At interactive object stations, exhibits can be digitally “collected”, playfully examined and processed.

Exhibition texts: German/English

Languages: German, English, Easy Language, German Sign Language