Swimwear, as visitors to the BikiniARTmuseum in Bad Rappenau soon realize after first entering, cannot be reduced to original designs or textile technological advances alone: It also serves as an indicator of cultural, economic and political change. Following this approach, the BikiniARTmuseum has developed a guided tour concept that is not only intended to teach students in grades 5 to 12 core competencies such as judgment and understanding of historical contexts, but also to show students of cultural studies, art, media studies or history dazzling fields of research around the topics of swimwear fashion and culture in the present and past.
Student look behind the scenes: How is a museum of bathing culture created?
"Seaside magic, Bond bikinis and the excitement of a scandalous piece of fabric" - this was the promising title of a field trip of the Chair of Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Regensburg, which took place from 08 to 09 July at the BikiniARTmuseum in Bad Rappenau. The study tour was accompanied by Ursula Templin, former swimwear designer and museum consultant, and Alexandra Regiert, cultural scientist and BikiniARTmuseum staff member. Around 30 students explored the more than 400 historic swimwear exhibits, learned more about the process of acquiring museum exhibits as well as the associated provenance research in the guided tour "On the road in the archives and attics of the world" and took a look behind the scenes of the swimwear industry of the 1960s and 1970s in a dialogue with Ursula Templin. As an industry expert, Ms. Templin explained how a collection is created from the first sketch to the wear test in the bathtub and which marketing strategies can be used to achieve successful sales.
Study and then? - Insights into museum work practice
In individual project groups, the students worked on multi-layered topics: from dress codes and gender segregation on the beach, to the bikini in media productions, to the analysis of museum marketing, which is taking progressive approaches to knowledge transfer with selfie spots and social media collaborations. During the discussions, which lasted several hours, it became clear that the classification in historical contexts is indispensable, especially in the subject area of swimwear, which is often associated with sexism and gender stereotypes, and that the values and moral concepts of the young researchers are, as it were, subject to the imprints of the present. Finally, the excursion showed the participants what career prospects are available after graduation and to what extent the acquired knowledge and skills can be applied in a targeted manner in professional practice, for example in the development of collections, the curating of exhibitions and the dissemination of knowledge.
Excursions for students of cultural studies, media studies, art studies and history are now bookable at firstname.lastname@example.org and can be thematically adapted to the subject focus.