The aim of this thesis is to investigate and identify the ability of children (aged four to six) to understand the basic principle of the sharing economy, the shared use of resources, at the museum Ars Electronica Center, and to make recommendations for exhibits which deal with complex economic issues. In the first part, results of an empirical survey of parameters concerning the sharing economy and the museums ability to communicate issues to visitors are presented. It shows that there is growing demand for museums to act as an intermediary for economic issues in a participatory manner for children from four to six years, but at present there are very little exhibits dealing with this matter. The thesis then identifies a best practice case for exhibits regarding the sharing economy and its principles for children aged four to six years, and further outlines that those children take part in the act of sharing by using the presented exhibit, called “TeilBar“, which was installed in the childrens research laboratory of the Ars Electronica Center. In a detailed central section, the thesis shows that the “TeilBar” stimulates children to participate and to generate user generated content through an immersive approach, uses multimedial methods, links art and science, offers support by trained staff and stays in the target groups mind by giving them the chance to take objects home with them.
Here, the thesis draws on a number of sources from other universities, museums and books and how to install exhibits for children. In conclusion, the thesis argues that children are able to participate in exhibits regarding complex economic issues, like the sharing economy. Thanks to the exhibit “TeilBar”, the children were able to perform the principle of the sharing economy: to share resources. The results show that the children enjoyed sharing, did not miss the shared items and it did not matter to them whether the item was new or if it had been used. The thesis could not investigate if the target group had fully understood the complex economic issue. In fact, there is need for further research to focus on the childrens understanding of the sharing economy. Nevertheless, this thesis hopes to offer a useful example of a best practice exhibit for children aged four to six years and thus makes them enjoy the act of participating in complex economic issues.