MONREPOS is a research museum where top rate archaeological research is mediated and integrated into a socio-political dialogue. We are an external department of the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz and a member of the Leibniz-Association.
We have been working at Schloss Monrepos (from the French „my repose“), located in the recreational landscape between the UNESCO World Heritage sites „Oberes Mittelrheintal“ and „Obergermanisch-Rätischer Limes“ (Roman frontier) for more than 30 years.
The longest and defining period of our development took place during the earliest period of human history, which is why we cary out research into the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic. The motivation why Neanderthals hunted cave bears or people shaped female figurines 30,000 years ago can still be seen in our behaviour today. Bizarre? Of course, but here are the roots of contemporary society –we are “dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants”. Only by understanding how the behaviour of these giants developed can we understand ourselves.
Our archaeology thrives on working together, on questions, impulses, discussion. And, not least, on criticism. And on tolerance. It needs people who are curious, creative and courageous – whether these are scientists, pro bono helpers, media or visitors. MONREPOS sees itself as a platform for everyone who wishes to understand the evolution of our behaviour and the earliest period of human history.
Well ahead of its time – scientific journalism and experiential education were still unheard of – the Museum had in the 1980s already developed innovative forms of mediation such as the Rudolf Virchow Lecture, the popular StoneAgeJourney at Whitsun and a colourful spectrum of experiential museum events for young and old. MONREPOS still shapes the German museum landscape to the present day.
»Thus there emerged at Monrepos a museum […] which shows our history during the long period in which humans lived as hunter-gatherers. During these more than 2 million years humanity and its behaviour were formed.«
Prof. Bosinski at the Museum opening 1988
Innovative temporary exhibits repeatedly set new accents in the mediation of archaeological research. Under Prof. Dr. Sabine Gaudzinski-Windheuser, MONREPOS has reinvigorated scientific mediation and integrated it into the research programme. A pioneering measure! We are responding to society’s demand for a transfer of scientific knowledge in order to participate in the scientific process. New forms of mediation forge a link from archaeology to society and back again! In our understanding, scientific mediation functions as a dialogue.
Growth and success made it necessary to invest in the location MONREPOS. From 2011, the Schloss was comprehensively renovated and expanded using funding from the “Konjunkturpaket II” for economic stimulus. The time had come to review the past 25 years, to think about our strong points and to make plans for the future. The result was a programme of new projects, ideas and visions, at the heart of which is our research strategy institutionalizing the experiences and understanding of 25 years of MONREPOS.
The new arrival needed a name! Since 2012 we are called the „MONREPOS Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution“. On this foundation we have constructed the new permanent exhibit “MenschlICHes VERSTEHEN / understandIng HUMANity” which opened on 15th July 2014.