5 Museums in Berlin you haven’t heard of (yet)
Fun fact: if one was to go visit one museum on every rainy day in Berlin, it would take that person roughly 20 months to get to see every single one of them. There are some 180 museums in the German capital and there’s probably nobody who has visited them all. While the famous institutions on Museum Island attract hundreds of thousands of visitors annually just like Jewish Museum or GDR Museum, others barely make the travel guides. Which does not mean they aren’t any good – there’s just too many of them. And it’s a shame some of these remain unpopular, because they are indeed worth a visit. Here are five amazing museums in Berlin you haven’t heard of (yet):
one: Museum of Medical History at Charité (Mitte)
Prepared specimens of malformed organs and vintage depictions of mean skin diseases – the Berlin Museum of Medical History at Charité sure is nothing for the weak-kneed. Groundbreaking pathologist Rudolf Virchow revealed his collection of pretty much every syndrome known back then to the public as early as 1899, but extensive damage during world war 2 meant the exhibition was only re-opened in 1998. Besides antique medical devices, publications, and models of internal organs the collection includes approximately 750 rare anatomic specimens – among them complete organs and removed tumors. While this might not be the most romantic place for a first date, a visit here makes for a stunning mix of fascination and terror. Plus it shows the incredible progress medicine has made over the last couple of centuries. The Museum of Medical History at Charité is open daily except Mondays from 10 am through 5 pm (Wednesdays and Saturdays through 7 pm). It’s accessible free of barriers and the admission is € 9 (reduced fare: € 4). For legal reasons, school groups can only be granted admission from grade 10 (6th form in the uk).
| Medizinhistorisches Museum der Charité, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin Mitte |
two: Museum der Dinge – Museum of Things (Kreuzberg)
A toaster, a tv-set, a chair, a desk lamp – those are all things you have at home? A rather unique museum in Kreuzberg puts those kinds of seemingly ordinary objects on display. Museum der Dinge, the archive of Werkbund exhibits very common items, thus making everyday culture of the 20th and 21st century a matter of archeology. Why so? Deutscher Werkbund (“German Association of Craftsmen”) was established in 1907 in order to fight soulless mass production and the use of cheap materials. It was seen as a morally substantiated reform movement for aesthetics and quality in goods. The objectivity and sobriety they propagated made for the basic framework of the much better known Bauhaus school. The permanent collection shows aesthetically pleasing, functional, high-quality objects that have shaped and enriched everyday life – as “valuable” goods, not as cheaply consumed use-and-throw products. Surprisingly relevant today, ain’t it? Maybe skip that next trip to primark and pay a visit to this miraculous little museum instead. Museum der Dinge is open Thursday through Monday from 12 to 7pm. It’s accessible free of barriers and admission is € 6 (reduced fare: € 4). Children under the age of 17 are free.
| Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge, Oranienstrasse 25, 10999 Berlin |
three: Brücke Museum (Dahlem)
There are plenty of art museums in Berlin: Alte Nationalgalerie and Bode Museum with their classic oil paintings and sculptures, modern art at Museum Berggruen, or contemporary exhibitions at Berlinische Galerie. There’s one art museum, that’s a bit off the beaten track if you want. That’s mostly due to its location: between the wild boar colonies of Grunewald forest in the suburb of Dahlem is where you will find: Brücke Museum. Few people know it, and that’s a shame to say the least. The collection consists of roughly 400 paintings and sculptures plus thousands of drawings and prints by the artist group “Die Brücke”. Formed in 1905 by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff this club marks the zenith of German expressionism and helped to pave the way for modern art. Caricatural depictions of mundane street life in Berlin or confusingly colorful mountain sceneries from Switzerland – if you like expressionist art, this museum will strike many a chord with you. Brücke Museum is open daily except Tuesdays from 11 am through 5 pm and is accessible free of barrier. Admission is € 6 (reduced fare: € 4), children and art school students can enter free of charge.
| Brücke-Museum, Bussardsteig 9, 14195 Berlin Dahlem |
four: Urban Nation (Schöneberg)
Street art belongs to the street, not to a museum! At least it appears that way, especially if you think of the terrible commericaliced exploitation of mysterious Mr Banksy’s oeuvre. But what if a museum doesn’t even attempt to remove murals and graffitis from the facades to put them on display, but sees itself more like a platform for networking within the scene and provides a safe space for the art that is created illegally elsewhere? Such is the approach of Urban Nation in Schöneberg. Originally founded as a network for urban contemporary art, the initiative has brought artists from around the globe to Berlin since 2013 in order to let them create murals in the borough surrounding Bülowstrasse. In 2017 the Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art was opened, displaying works produced by well-known street artists specifically for this exhibition. If you’re the kind of person who understands that there’s more to street art than tags on a dirty wall, a walk along Bülowstrasse is a treat already. A visit to this museum takes the experience to a whole new level. Urban Nation is open daily except Mondays from 10 am through 6 pm. Admission is free and it’s fully accessible.
| Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art, Bülowstrasse 7, 10783 Berlin Schöneberg |
five: Computer Games Museum (Friedrichshain)
Remember when mum got real annoying and told you not to spend so much time playing video games but rather do something “meaningful” with your free time? Well, would a trip to the museum count? Alright mom, museum it is – the Computer Games Museum in Friedrichshain to be precise. As early as 1997 a permanent exhibition of digital interactive entertainment culture was established; in 2011 the opening of “Computerspiele-Museum” on Karl-Marx-Allee made for the world’s first real computer gaming museum. And there’s a lot to explore: the very first game console called “Odyssey” from 1972, some vintage C64 computers, but also virtual-reality glasses and other future technologies. The history of computer gaming is still comparably young, but this medium now is an integral part of our culture. Thus, the Computer Games Museum is not only for e-sports enthusiasts and gaming nerds. It’s open daily from 10 am through 8 pm and fully accessible. Admission is € 9 (reduced fare: € 5).
| Computerspiele-Museum, Karl-Marx-Allee 93A, 10243 Berlin Friedrichshain |
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