These mountains and forests are entwined with German history and Germanic myths. According to legend, unicorns lived here in caves and sacrifices were made to Wodan on the peaks. On Walpurgis night the witches met here to dance and not far away Barbarossa waits in a cave for the revival of his empire. Emperors resided here and the peasants rebelled here against the authorities. Goethe and Heine wandered through the forests and valleys. The seemingly untouched forests and mountains were places of longing for the glorifying gaze of German Romanticism. But village names like Elend (misery) and Sorge (worry) tell about the real life in the low mountain range, which was characterized by mining and forestry. Under National Socialism, caves and forests became important sites for the war industry and were used as forced labor and concentration camps. After the war, the inner-German border divided the mountains into FRG and GDR. Today, the beginning of the climate change is affecting the nature: bark beetles, drought and storms are destroying large areas of forest.
The wooded hills once gave the low mountain range its name: Hart is an old German word that means mountain forest. From this the region developed its present name: Harz.
The exhibition hart deals with a wide concept of landscape, which includes socio-cultural, economic and ecological contexts as well as the manifold interaction of man and environment in the landscape. The exhibition becomes an exploration of orders and relationships, which leads to an exploration of man and nature through social and ethnological traces. The combination of documentary photographs with collected plants and objects creates an archive that explores ecological structures and cultural contexts in order to document and analyze the current conditions and identities of a region and society.