Democracy thrives on variety. The "Democracy Lab" aims to raise awareness that this form of government thrives on participation and engagement from all citizens and is shaped by an ongoing process of negotiation between different opinions and standpoints – and hence exists in a state of continuous development.
The exhibition is structured around seven differently themed rooms, where visitors are invited to think critically about what it is that makes democracy work in Germany today, and how it can continue to succeed in the future. Which basic rights should be guaranteed? What makes voting integral to democracy? Who is able to exercise their democratic rights? What social conditions need to be met if people are to participate in public life? What is the significance of the media and freedom of expression? What role is played by civil engagement, and how are conflicts resolved?
Using original objects from past and present, the "Democracy Lab" sets out to explore these questions. Visitors are encouraged to think about the link between, for example, an official replica of the football shirt worn by Mesut Özil (a third-generation Turkish-German) when playing for the German national team and the issue of citizenship. Or they might consider the connection between Klaus Staeck’s provocative "counterstatement" poster and the way freedom of expression and hate speech can be explored as themes. The exhibition features talking points and participatory activities to encourage debate. The idea is to provide a forum where both individuals and groups have the opportunity to voice their opinions and engage in discussion. A wide range of educational activities are available to school classes and groups, including an opportunity to talk about what happens when specific aspects of democracy are destabilized or overridden entirely.