Published 27 Jun 2024

Church as a living cultural heritage

The Oderbruch is a European cultural heritage site - and with it, its churches tell of the eventful history of this landscape.

The exhibitions on the annual theme of CHURCH at the Oderbruch Museum

The Oderbruch is a European cultural heritage site – and with it, its churches tell of the eventful history of this landscape. During the Prussian colonization in the 18th century, over 8,000 settlers from various countries came to this landscape, many of them for reasons of religious freedom. The dynamics of this time, the diversity of pious styles and the different local conditions are expressed in a wide variety of church buildings, from small half-timbered school and prayer houses to large brick churches. Nine of them belong to the network of cultural heritage sites where the special nature of the Oderbruch’s history is actively communicated.

The special relationship of the landscape to religious and church history is the reason for the Oderbruch Museum Altranft to take a closer look at this aspect of cultural heritage in 2024 as part of its annual theme CHURCH. In addition to numerous salon talks at the museum, a play, a project for digital storytelling at the various heritage sites and a specially produced workshop book, the following exhibitions are also being created, which will be opened in stages and can finally be experienced in full from July 6:

A woman builds a church: in 1752, Marian Caroline von Marschall had the Altranft church built in honor of her deceased husband Samuel von Marschall, who as “Wirklicher Geheimer Etats- und Kriegsminister” was one of the leading statesmen in Frederick II’s Kingdom of Prussia. The exhibition has been developed in dialog with the residents of Altranft and not only presents details of the building’s history, but also draws on memories and experiences that were made here.

The Oderbruch churches through the eyes of children: 80 children from the Protestant Johanniter School in Wriezen have painted and drawn the churches of their villages. Their pictures show an astonishingly good view of the special features of their villages and the different character of the various buildings.

Faith and power – on the relationship between church and state in the Oderbruch region: This exhibition and research project is a search for traces of the relationship between faith and power in the Oderbruch region, spanning Prussian history, the National Socialist era and the GDR right up to the present day. The aim of the project is to use examples to start a conversation and thus contribute to a redefinition of the role of Christians in rural communities.

Living community – people in the mirror of faith: The Altranft patronal church was renovated inside for the theme year and can now also be used as an exhibition and event space. It will be reopened on July 6. It will show a photo essay by Michael Anker entitled “Rooted in life” about church life in Oderbruch parishes and provide an insight into the interviews that were conducted with 25 people in the Oderbruch on this topic. In addition, a student project on the opening and future use of church buildings in the Oderbruch will be presented.

Written by: Kenneth Anders

The Oderbruch Museum Altranft is open from Thursday to Sunday and on public holidays from 11 am to 5 pm until the end of the season on December 10.