Activities about the abbey’s history
Do you know why the Cistercians were called the White Monks, or what their life was like at the monastery? Look, I’ve got a magnifying glass. Let’s delve into some of the abbey’s secrets. Off we go to the Michaelstein of yore!
Mapping the abbey
Father Bernhard, we’ve got the blueprints! Our monks built and organised the abbey like town planners. There’s a main road, gardens and plenty of rooms to discover. Let's go!
Be a monk for a day
Pop on your habit, it’s time to become a monk! Join Brother Grabolin to find out what it’s like living in a monastery and learn more about monks’ everyday lives.
When darkness falls, children’s eyes light up. Let’s explore the secret corners of the night-time monastery, shedding light on the unfamiliar with our lamp.
How can you make ink and dyes out of plants and stone? Find out with us by making them yourself. But what have monks got to do with it? We get to the bottom of that mystery by giving full rein to our artistic flair.
In the Middle Ages, books were not just books: they were elaborately designed works of art. You can bind your own book; all you need is your imagination and a little bit of skill.
Have a ripping good time – tearing old newspapers into shreds and making them into your own paper. We experiment with all kinds of ideas, adding our own personal touch to everything we make. There are no limits to your creativity!
Seals were the business cards of the Middle Ages. To keep letters private, wax was dripped onto them, and a seal pressed into it. Design your own seal so that no-one can read your messages anymore.
Monastic garden activities
Plant juice makes you strong! That was once common knowledge. Fortunately for us, monks recorded and preserved a great deal of wisdom about which plants are valuable for cooking and healing. Various medicinal and otherwise useful plants grow in our gardens, just like in days of yore. Every year, long-forgotten varieties of herbs, vegetables, cereals and fruit flourish there. Find out interesting plant facts on a sometimes spicy, sometimes flowery, usually edible exploration of your five senses – one that is easy to reproduce at home.
Rack your brains and follow the clues through the abbey, fields and woods – a team tour featuring both nature and culture. Look forward to discovering new facts, putting your heads together and learning some rib-tickling new riddles.
Follow your nose and explore the monastic gardens with your eyes wide open, collecting ingredients to make your own fragrant or tasty gifts: lavender bags, petal soap bars, herbal salt, rose sugar, tea or smoothies. Truly organic: healthy and a treat for the senses!
In the past, monks once sang here; today, you can hear all kinds of musical instruments at the abbey. Let me show you my living room, there’s lots to discover! I can’t wait to find things out with you.
On your explorations of the music exhibition you will encounter a time machine, multimedia exhibits and experiments. You will not just see and hear musical instruments, but even try out some of them. Michel the cat really looks forward to meeting visitors of any age – and especially you!
With rainmakers, thunder tubes and many other Orff instruments, you can mimic various sounds of nature and everyday noises. These can be put together to create little compositions on all sorts of themes, which you can perform to get everyone guessing.
Stop! Don’t throw that away! Basic materials such as nutshells, cardboard tubes, bottle caps, pipes and much more can be turned into great musical instruments. You, too, will be doing all kinds of woodwork, armed with a hammer, saw and drill. The result of our construction work together will be a little musical gem that you can play both at the abbey and when you get home.
One circle, plenty of drums. A rhythm you just can’t resist joining in, whether you can play or not!
You are needed to take part in the interactive musical fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. Everyone sings together and reads little parts, and some little musicians are needed to take part in the production, too. The trickling sand of a dream, glittering morning dew or a wild witches’ dance give you plenty of chances to show off your own inventive sounds and rhythms.
In the well-known story of Peter and the Wolf, you can slip into your favourite role or perform as a musician. This involves not only working with percussion instruments but also getting to know some classical musical instruments. You are more than welcome to bring along your own costume or props.
This spectacular sound and light show of Bach's Christmas Oratorio will teach you a thing or two about the musical instruments of the baroque period. Take on the role of first violin and conduct the orchestra! If you pay close attention, you’re bound to get full marks in our little quiz.
Standard tours lasting approx. 90 minutes can be booked in advance including the museum with the cloisters, the monastic gardens and the music exhibition “KlangZeitRaum” – Solving the Secret of Music. These are designed for groups of up to 30 people. Larger groups are divided up and can take a tour at the same time, on request.
Special tours are recommended for any visitors who are interested in a specific topic, are elderly or have difficulty walking. These individual tours of specific areas take roughly 1 hour and do not involve a great deal of stair-climbing. Visitors are then free to view the remaining areas of the museum if so desired.
A special tour is available on Salomon de Caus’s music machine, with a live demonstration of how water sets a sculpture in motion and plays a water organ with a pinned barrel. This tour is offered to groups of up to 60 people and takes roughly 45 minutes. Visitors are then free to view the remaining areas of the museum if so desired.
Special children’s tours have been designed for young visitors of different ages and levels of education. The group (of up to 25 children) can, of course, select certain areas they wish to visit.
When the nights draw in, evening tours by candlelight bring out the dignified beauty of the cloisters particularly starkly. These tours introduce visitors to the places where the monks once lived and worked, and take roughly 1 hour.
Birthdays at the abbey
Would you like to have a very special experience on your birthday? We can make your dream come true. Simply bring along your friends, and we’ll come up with lots of ideas, materials and techniques.
It’s found in liquid or solid form in every home. It’s always preceded by an alluring fragrance, and it melts in your hand. Know what it is? Right: soap, which you can make here all by yourself!
Bored with standard wrapping paper? Together, we’ll make little paper gift wraps in your own colourful designs. You can not only wrap gifts with them, but also use them to keep your own treasures safe.
Who says seeds belong in the earth? They can also be used to make brilliant sprinkle-and-glue pictures and decorate all sorts of things.
Create flowerpots for your room or the balcony out of old milk cartons and PET bottles. Fill them with earth and seeds, water them regularly and soon you’ll be enjoying the flowers.
Not only people have families: musical instruments do, too. Get to know some specially selected family members through play. After an introduction to the instruments, you can get hands-on and try them out for yourself. It might not sound quite like a concert, but it’s great fun!
Become a jewellery designer! Plants are not just there to eat: we use all kinds of petals and greenery from the garden to create our jewellery.
School trip – stay at the monastery
Do you like unusual experiences? And all the more so when your friends and classmates are part of them? We have the perfect place for you. Come and visit us at Michaelstein Abbey! We organise exciting projects against a mediaeval backdrop.
You’ll find bed and board at the best inn the abbey has to offer: the hotel & inn “Zum Weissen Mönch” Ask for prices at the hotel.
You’ve sorted out the food and lodging. Now it's time to get down to business. Select from our projects to put together your own, personalised school trip. The choice is up to you! Our activities can be combined or individually extended, are curriculum-led and suited to almost every age group.
Tell us when you are planning to visit. Let us know what projects you are interested in, and we’ll create a schedule for your stay.
Holiday and abbey workshops
Michaelstein Abbey always comes up with new, fun, interesting workshops specially designed for children and young people. The studios are used for painting and drawing, sawing and hammering, sewing, crocheting and pottery. They are a hive of learning and unique creativity. The abbey workshops are intended as an exciting place for everyone to learn, and are suitable for repeated visits by school classes, groups of children and families with children.
These take place during the school holidays in Saxony-Anhalt. We explore, do crafts and experiment based on all sorts of topics related to the cloister rooms, the monastic gardens or music. Anyone interested can simply book a place.
During the summer holidays, our abbey workshops take place at the same time as the combined Dreiklang tour. Surprises are guaranteed! Anyone who wants to can simply book a place.