Things to Do in Berlin - page 5
The Ethnological Museum of Berlin, or Ethnologisches Museum, houses collections of goods that were created outside of Europe and then brought to Berlin in the 19th and 20th centuries. The collections are divided into geographic regions and arranged thematically to provide insights into non-European cultures and show their diversity; an important part of the museum's mission is to foster global understanding and to go beyond the Eurocentric viewpoint.
The “Art of Africa” exhibit teaches visitors about developments in African art history by showing the religious and social significance of sculptures and everyday objects, while “Africa in Berlin” examines the relationship between Africa and Europe. The “American Archeology” exhibit looks at the cultural heritage of pre-Spanish cultures in Central and South America and includes objects that date as far back as 2000 BC. Other exhibits include the South Seas collection with typical boats and houses of the Pacific islands, the “Myth of the Golden Triangle” exhibit which examines ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia, and the “Islamic Worlds” exhibit, looking at different experiences of Muslim cultures.
The Musical Instrument Museum in Berlin (Musikinstrumenten-Museum) is a haven for those interested in the history of music. It houses the largest collection of musical instruments in Germany, with more than 3,500 pieces from the 1500s to today. The museum is also a part of the State Institute for Music Research under the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.
Berlin’s Photography Museum (Museum für Fotografie) has attracted photography enthusiasts from around the world since 2004. The museum’s two main exhibits are “Helmut Newton’s Private Property” and the Kunstbibliothek’s Collection of Photography, which features German and international photographers including Annie Leibovitz and Peter Lindbergh.
Tierpark Berlin is Europe’s largest zoo and home to more than 9,000 animals from nearly 900 species. African penguins, polar bears, and Sumatran tigers, to name just a few, reside in the 400-acre (162-hectare) park. In addition to seeing animal feedings and shows, you can learn about the zoo’s important conservation efforts.
The Bauhaus Archive Museum of Design(Bauhaus-Archiv Museum für Gestaltung) is both a museum and a research institute in Berlin. It is a non-profit organization that was established in 1960, and it is dedicated to the history and the after-effects of the most significant art school of the 20th century. The works found here represent many areas such as painting, sculpture, architecture, furniture, ceramics, metal, photography, stage and photographs from the original Bauhaus Workshop. The Bauhaus was founded as a state-run school by Walter Gropius, and the Bauhaus Workshop operated from 1919 to 1933.
The aim of the Bauhaus Archive is "to collect and present all documents relating to the activities and cultural and intellectual heritage of the Bauhaus," which includes photographs, books, designs, models and artistic works, along with the organization of exhibitions and accompanying programs. Exhibitions in the museum include permanent collections as well as special temporary exhibits.
Please note: The Bauhaus Archive Museum of Design is currently closed for renovation. The reopening is scheduled for 2022.
Zoom to the top of Berlin’s Kollhoff Tower in Europe’s fastest elevator to reach the Panoramapunkt observation deck. At 328 feet (100 meters), Panorama Point offers some of the best views of the city and its landmarks. The 24th floor features an open-air exhibition with pictures and audio presenting the history of the famous Potsdamer Platz.
The Art Library is one of the largest specialized libraries for art history and cultural studies in the world. Founded in 1867, it’s home to over 400,000 works including fine-art drawings, photos, posters, advertisements, and a book design collection. It’s also a research institute which aims to gain new perspectives on important themes in art. These interdisciplinary outlooks range from the history of the art trade to the rise and evolution of international art styles and movements to the shared origins of Western and non-European art.
The Bröhan Museum proudly displays a large collection of art nouveau, art deco, and functionalism from the 1890s to 1939. Named after its founder Karl H. Bröhan, who donated his entire collection to Berlin on this 60th birthday, the museum’s exhibition spaces display vases, lamps, carpets, paintings, and a rich porcelain collection.
The Brücke Museum in Berlin is dedicated to the work of the artist group Die Brücke (the Bridge) from 1905 to 1913. The group was formed in Dresden by four students, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fritz Bleyl, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Erich Heckel, when its members started experimenting with abstract forms, bright color and perspective, breaking from the art of the academies and representing the beginning of German Expressionism. The museum houses around 400 paintings and thousands of drawings, water color paintings, original graphics, and wood carvings from this expressionist group. The museum also displays work by artists who were closely connected to the Brücke group.
One of the main principles of the Brücke movement was building a bridge to the surrounding nature. This principle is represented by the location of the museum surrounded by the pine and birch trees of the beautiful Grunewald forest just outside the southwest corner of the city. The building's simplistic style echos the art on display, and with less than 5,400 square feet of exhibition space, it is Berlin's smallest museum.
Housed in a striking neo-baroque building with showstopping modern neon blue lights, Berlin’s interactive Museum for Communication (Museum für Kommunikation) explores the history of all things communication. The museum honors the written, spoken, and visual word via wax seals, postcards, telephones, radios, computers, film, and more.
More Things to Do in Berlin
The Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin is dedicated to the art of the 20th century. It was opened in 1968 and is the last major architectural work designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe before his death. The museum has almost 54,000 square feet of exhibition space. The upper level is filled with light and is often used for special exhibits such as large scale sculptures or paintings.
The art on display in the museum's lower level comes from a variety of North American and European artitsts, such as Pablo Picasso, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Salvador Dalí, Francis Bacon, Gerhard Richter, Andy Warhol and more. One of the most famous paintings here is Kirchner's “Potsdamer Platz” due to its historical look at Berlin. In addition to the permanent exhibit, the lower level also has space for themed shows, a cafe, and a gift shop.
Please note: The New National Gallery (Neue Nationalgalerie) is currently closed for renovation. Renovations are expected to be completed in 2021.
Designed for children, the MACHmit! Museum for Children (Kindermuseum MachtMit) aims to offer kids various ways to discover, explore and learn in a playful way. Arts and crafts activities raise their awareness of the environment that is around them every day. Kids are encouraged to play as a way to experience and learn about complex ideas. The museum ties in all the senses for a fully hands-on experience which makes for a more enjoyable visit for kids.
Special exhibitions are varied and include paintings from well-known artists, themes around holidays such as eggs at Easter, soap, mirrors, typography and more. The museum also offers special workshops on porcelain painting, sewing, weaving, theater, and dance. Special exhibits and workshops change each month. Kindermuseum MachMit is also available for birthday parties and other special events.
Georg Kolbe was the most successful German sculptor of the first half of the 20th century. His home and studio on the outskirts of West Berlin were turned into the Georg Kolbe Museum in 1950, three years after his death. The two buildings were built in 1928 and 19299 using elements of architectural modernism, and they are connected by a large garden with old pine trees. He chose to have his home and studio built here due to the natural setting and the proximity to the cemetery where his wife was buried.
Over 200 mostly bronze statues are on display at the museum. Most of the pieces on display at the museum were created by Kolbe himself, though there are a few pieces of art from his closest contemporaries. His work in the 1910s and 1920s was very reflective of the times. His sculptures came to represent freedom from the restrictive traditions of the Wilhelminian Period as well as the political and social upheavals of the time period.
The German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst sits on the exact location where the German Army gave its unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945, ending World War II. It serves as a memorial to the war between German and Russian forces, complimenting the Museum of the Allies, which focuses on the victorious western allies. The German-Russian Museum also documents pre-war history, the Cold War, and the relations between the USSR, East Germany and West Germany, covering the time in history between 1917 and 1990.
The museum was opened in 1995 on the 50th anniversary of the German surrender. It was opened as a joint effort between Germany and Russia to remember the war and teach visitors about it. Items in the permanent exhibition include texts, photographs, films, and audio recordings. Special temporary exhibits provide an opportunity to dig deeper into specific topics relating to the history of the war and the German-Soviet relationships.
This Museum serves as a moving tribute to one of the everyday heroes of World War II. Otto Weidt was a visually impaired man who owned and ran a factory that produced brooms and brushes. Weidt employed many blind and deaf Jewish workers, and during the war he went to great lengths to protect them from persecution and deportation.
Dorotheenstadt Cemetery (Dorotheenstadtischer Friedhof) is a cemetery in Berlin dating back to 1762. It serves as a resting place for many well known Germans. Today many visitors come to this cemetery to stroll through the graves and see the headstones of the intellectual and artistic leaders who are buried here. There is also a monument honoring resistance fighters killed by the Nazi regime and a mass grave containing 64 people killed near the end of the war, most of whom are unknown.
The names include the philosophers Hegel and Fichte, the authors Heinrich Mann, Johannes R. Becher, Arnold Zweig and Anna Seghers, the director Heiner Müller, the architects Friedrich August Stüler and Karl Friedrich Schinkel, the artist John Heartfield, the actress Helene Weigel, and the printer Ernst Theodor Litfaß. There is also an honorary grave for the former Federal President Johannes Rau. The house where the playwright Brecht spent the last years of his life with his wife Weigel is located at the entrance to the cemetery. Today the Brecht Archive and the Literature Forum are located here.
Towering 1,207 feet (368 meters) over the Alexanderplatz public square, the Berlin TV Tower is the city’s tallest building and one of its top landmarks. The views over Berlin are unforgettable, but for many visitors the tower’s main highlight is the revolving restaurant at the top. Dubbed The Sphere, here guests can dine on gourmet cuisine and sip Champagne while gazing out over the city skyline.
Glienicke Bridge is located in the southwestern corner of the Berlin region and crosses the Havel River, which connects Glienicke Lake and Jungfernsee Lake. When you cross the bridge from east to west, you leave the Berlin region and enter the surrounding region of Brandenburg. The first bridge built here was in the mid 1600s, and it has been replaced several times since then. After World War II, the East German government named it the Bridge of Unity because the border between East Germany and West Berlin ran through the center of the bridge.
It is also known as the Bridge of Spies because during the Cold War, this was where the Soviets and the Americans exchanged spies who had been captured. The bridge was once again open to the public once the Wall came down in 1989. It has been used in the filming of commercials, television shows, and movies, including the 2015 movieBridge of Spies, starring Tom Hanks.
As befits one of the most important decorative-arts museums in Europe, there are two locations for Berlin’s Museum of Decorative Arts (Kunstgewerbemuseum in German); the Kulturforum near Potsdamer Platz and an outpost at the Schloss Köpenick on an island in the Dahme River. The former is housed in purpose-built gallery designed by Rolf Gutbrod in 1985, which was refurbished in 2014 to provide a home for an expanded collection celebrating the landmarks of European design from medieval times to present day. Highlights include examples of medieval religious art, Renaissance silverware and the ornate rococo Chamber of Mirrors transported from the Schloss Wiesentheid in Kitzingen, Bavaria. Recent additions include a spectacular Fashion Gallery — exhibiting 130 dresses dating from 1795 to present day — and important pieces of Jugendstil and Art Deco glassware and furniture.
Temporary exhibitions featuring artifacts from the museum’s repository are held at both venues but the major selling point of the ornate, moated Schloss Köpenick is its permanent display of reconstructed period rooms. Dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries, they are perfectly matched to the Baroque backdrop of the castle and every detail of their decoration is accurate down to the last piece of furniture and stuccowork.
Domäne Dahlem is an open-air museum in central Berlin that focuses on the agriculture, ecology, and food culture of the local region. The museum is located in the manor house of the former 16th-century knight estate Dahlem, and looks back on more than 800 years of agrarian history. Visitors engage all their senses as they learn about the life cycle of food—from the fields to their plates. With exhibitions, an organic farm with livestock and working crops, a historic grocery shop, market days, and more, the museum is home to educational action year-round.
Young kids can enjoy opportunities to feed the animals on the farm, such as pigs, goats, cattle, sheep, horses, and chicks. There are tractor rides offered, and special kids' tours explore the vegetable garden and the butcher’s shop, as well. (Kids can also make beeswax candles). Things get busy on festival or market days, when parades with horses and riders, and bustling market stalls, transport visitors back to the Middle Ages.
Düppel Historic Village (Museumsdorf Düppel)is a seasonal open-air museum in Berlin that allows visitors to experience medieval ways of life and craftsmanship at festivals, markets, and other events. The reconstruction of a German village is built on on the same site as a village where farmers lived 800 years ago; the with residences, storehouses, workshops, fields, and gardens all likely look just as they did in the year 1200.
From Easter through October, visitors can see and smell medieval plants and animals like the ‘Düppel pig’ and the ‘Skudde sheep,’ species that have been bred back from near-extinction. Local volunteers demonstrate medieval craft techniques like blacksmithing, tar-making, and textile arts. The museum kitchen offers hot and cold dishes, cakes, and coffee. The entire family will enjoy the interactive experience of touching, testing, listening, smelling, learning, and participating the different features of the museum. There is a small permanent exhibit, and learning programs are also offered for school classes and groups of visitors.
The decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall was a time of celebration, political reunification, and creative freedom for Berliners, and the Nineties Berlin: Multimedia Exhibition chronicles all the highlights. Immerse yourself in 90s-era Berlin, from street art and fashion to the infamous party scene at the museum.
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