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Of Animal Tales and Fairy-Tale Animals

The exhibition displays the importance of animals in fairy tales. About 80 exhibits, among them fairy-tale costumes, historical pictures or the “last unicorn”, take the visitors into the fairy-tale world and explain the secret of success of the tales.

All over the world fairy tales are currently booming. Not without reason: in the face of the present rapidity of changes fairy tales offer orientation and counselling. Simultaneously these tales are something connecting people everywhere in the world: fairy tales can be found in all cultural environments of the earth and are intelligible for everybody. For this reason a special comprehensive exhibition is dedicated to fairy tales by the Westphalian Horse Museum. However, not the “classical” fairy-tale figures like Sleeping Beauty or Mother Hulda, but the numerous animal heroes, without which the tales would be unimaginable, are the focus of the exhibition. What would Little Red Riding Hood be without the wolf? Or what if no frog had been there to fetch the gold ball from the well? In three sections the exhibition for the first time displays the specific importance of animals in fairy tales. About 80 exhibits, among them splendid fairy-tale costumes, historical pictures or the “last unicorn”, take the visitors into the fairy-tale world and explain the secret of success of the tales. The three sections of the exhibition are:

Features of Fairy Tales

Fairy tales have fascinated children and adults for centuries. It is largely due to the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm that the tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and the Frog Prince have been so popular until nowadays. The two brothers were the first to research, to collect and to publish the German fairy tales. But where and how did the Grimm brothers find their tales? And what are typical features of fairy tales? The exhibition leads the visitor to the historic roots of fairy tales and tells the success story of the Grimm brothers. The characteristics of fairy tales are explained and in addition how the significance of fairy tales for children and adults has changed in the course of time.

Animals in Fairy Tales

Whether Puss in Boots, the Frog Prince or the Town Musicians of Bremen: animals are an essential part of fairy tales and you hardly find one without them. It is often the animal protagonists who help the fairy-tale heroes reach the solution of their problems and thus achieve their goals. Which animals appear in a fairy tale and which role they play may vary from country to country. The exhibition presents well-known fairy-tale animals from all over the world and examines the function and the importance of these animals in the fairy tales. At an interactive station you can test your knowledge concerning the symbolism of animals and learn why in fairy tales the fox, the bear and others often adopt human ways of behaviour.

Of Noble Steeds and Magic Horses

Among all the animals the horse can be found most frequently in fairy tales. According to the research conducted by the well-known folk tale scholar Vladimir Propp the horse is the only fairy-tale animal capable of performing all five functions of a helper. This leading part of the horse in fairy tales illustrates its social and economic functions in the last centuries. In fairy tales, however, it is not only a mount and pack animal, but also primarily appears as counsellor and loyal helper of the hero. For the exhibition four of the finest horse tales have been selected: the visitors meet the Goose Girl of the Grimm tale, Cinderella and her three nuts, the small humpbacked horse of the Russian writer Pjotr Jerschow and the Ebony Horse from the Arabian Nights.

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Westfälisches Pferdemuseum Münster

Westphalian horse museum in the Allwetterzoo Münster

A unique museum project was realised in the Allwetterzoo Münster. It opened its doors in October 2002. A museum in the Zoo. 1000 square meters exhibition area are devoted to nature and cultural history of the horse in Westphalia and other topics about the horse. There are also special exhibitions. Directly next to the museum is the arena. Various performances with horses allow the visitors direct access to the living animal.

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