Woodpecker Tongue


About the object

This "action model of the woodpecker's tongue" was one of several of the museum's in-house productions. During guided tours, biological functions that are difficult to observe could be clearly explained and demonstrated: for example, its strong, chisel-like bill and protruding tongue. The aim was to promote the enjoyment of observing nature, which is much more impressive when you have the knowledge gained from a guided tour of the museum.
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The model of the woodpecker tongue from the 1930s may seem particularly antiquated at first glance. Nevertheless, it is a masterpiece in the art of communicating its function. The model was most probably conceived by the honorary director of the museum at that time, Prof. Konrad Guenther (1874­-1955), and was made by the taxidermist, Wilhelm Böhler. Guenther can rightly be called a pioneer of museum education long before it was gradually introduced as an independent discipline in museums. The comprehensively sensory-based understanding of connections, i.e. sustainable transfer of knowledge, was his perennial concern. Guenther's aim was always to inspire museum-goers to experience nature, to encourage the experience and discovery of the "outdoors" and independent ongoing education in museums, in keeping with the spirit of a modern extracurricular educational institution.

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