Januar 26

The watering can museum: a real wealth of shapes and colors


Open again: The Watering Can Museum

Things got pretty quiet at the Watering Can Museum in the spring of 2020. Public life was shut down and even the doors of the lovely institution on Sonnenstrasse remained closed. And spring is usually a time when the museum team is happy to see quite a few visitors. Now the GiKaMu has finally reopened. Of course, all distance and hygiene rules are observed. The first days of opening were accompanied by good public traffic. Access to the museum rooms was granted in such a way that there were never more than three guests on the premises at any one time.

This initially (and deliberately) led to a rather subdued visitor traffic. But the joy of being able to do something again was written all over the faces of many visitors. The need to look at something and talk about it with other people was great. And such discoveries are now possible again. Of course, with mandatory masks and distance rules. The summer season now has the following opening hours:

  • Tuesday 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
  • Wednesday 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • Friday 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.
  • Sunday 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

The Watering Can Museum is located next to the Botanical Gardens at Sonnenstrasse 3.

The watering can collection

The watering can museum dates back to 2011. With the "Landesgartenschau 2014" in mind, the facility was to be opened as a participatory museum. At the heart of the museum is the watering can collection, which was assembled by the citizens of Gießen and other donors. And this collection today consists of several hundred exhibits. A considerable collection, especially in view of the fact that many people think of a watering can only as a simple everyday object consisting of a shower piece, watering tube, handle and water container.

However, the range of variants in terms of material, shape, color and design is enormous. From the green, the yellow to the blue can you will find watering cans in all colors, watering cans for indoor use and for outdoors and also specialized vessels for the care of cacti. The watering cans can also take fanciful shapes: Thus, there are cans as a rooster and a hen or picturesquely (painterly) designed elements, as well as watering cans in a form suitable for children. All this is presented by the Giessen Watering Can Museum. Of course, the history of each exhibit is also interesting. Each watering can has its own story to tell. When visiting the Giessen Watering Can Museum, also take a look at the "print cabinet". Here you will see 26 images from the 19th century in which the watering can is in action in very different ways.

A trivial (insignificant/banal) object?

In a museum you will often find antiquarian and significant unique items. But the focus of the Watering Can Museum is set differently. Here the watering can comes into its own as a common utilitarian and everyday object. Here you can marvel at the richness of shapes and colors in a seemingly trivial watering vessel. Get to know the jug through its formal aesthetic perspective. The combination of vessel, handle, spout and spray piece allows so many possibilities for design, use of different materials and value. The watering can adorns the garden and the windowsill with its different colors and shapes.

Whether it is made of ceramics, plastic or metal, whether it takes on a figurative form or nostalgic accents, the spectrum of the watering can ranges from the practically designed utilitarian object to the design article. Seemingly banal and yet so interesting. An object in the tension between form and function.

To this day, the Watering Can Museum in Giessen collects watering cans for the garden or for the balcony. Or for the houseplant. For children and for adults. For flowers and cacti. These can be inherited watering cans or the old brass watering can, marked from years of use. Toy watering cans can also be found in the Watering Can Museum. Many of the watering cans tell very personal stories. A disused watering can is just as interesting to the museum as the new item acquired explicitly for the donation, which knows how to take center stage with its unique form.

The collection is essentially supported by the broad participation of Giessen's urban society, which playfully contributes to this collection. With every contribution from the people of Giessen, the collection grows. But also guests and sympathizers from outside gladly contribute to the expansion of the collection. Many donors have sharpened their eye for watering cans in unusual shapes or found watering tools that tell a particularly interesting story.

The print collection

The print collection presents beautiful prints from the end of the 19th century that show the watering can in different contexts. Here, the watering can becomes the protagonist for wood engravings, copper engravings, illustrations and lithographs. Sometimes the watering can is the focal point, sometimes it is seen as an accessory to an illustration. Here it is used as a tool for fishing or as a musical instrument. Graphic sheets show the watering can in all its forms and round off the exhibition in the Watering Can Museum in an excellent way.

Group tours in the Watering Can Museum

If possible, a group tour should be booked 3 to 4 weeks before the desired date. The group tour can take place with up to 20 participants. It costs 30 EUR. A program specially designed for school classes and children is also possible.

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