When talking about the best place to visit in Germany, Berlin is among the destinations that will come up to mind. It is not only because Berlin is Germany’s capital but the gems it kept that keep tourists coming to discover them one by one. Museums in Berlin are one reason why this city is well known because there are great galleries across the town.
The spectacular city of Berlin provides various opportunities to enjoy and have a memorable trip in Germany. The town has showcased breathtaking sceneries, beautiful spots to stop by, restaurants, and breweries to experience.
The museums were also the city’s highlight, museums that hold the town’s historical objects, artifacts, and artworks not to miss.
Each of these galleries showcased different things from the past and collections. Museums in Berlin were truly outstanding, from how the collections are well preserved and collected, a fascinating piece of the nation’s hidden gems.
Check out this full travel guide on Berlin to help you make the most of the city.
Table of Contents
- List of the best museums in Berlin to visit
- DDR Museum
- Jewish Museum Berlin
- Neues Museum
- Museum für Fotografie
- Bode Museum
- German Museum of Technology
- Allied Museum
- Märkisches Museum
- German Historical Museum
- Museum Knoblauchhaus
- Museum for Communication Berlin
- DESIGNPANOPTIKUM- surreal museum for industrial objects
- Military History Museum – airport Berlin-Gatow
- Topography of Terror
- German-Russian Museum
- Museum at the Kulturbrauerei
- German Spy Museum
- Bröhan Museum
- Museum of Decorative Arts
List of the best museums in Berlin to visit
Address: Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 1, 10178 Berlin, Germany
The DDR Museum is a museum located in Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 1, 10178 Berlin, Germany, standing in the heart of Berlin. The museum stands where the ex-governmental quarter of East Germany used to be just atop the river Spree, opposite the Berlin Cathedral and was opened on the 15th of July, 2006, as a privately owned museum.
Exhibits displayed in the remarkable museum try to portray what life in the old East Germany (formerly known as Deutsche Demokratische Republik, hence the name DDR) meant directly “hands-on” way.
These exhibits or representations come in the form of articles attributed to a certain form of life. For instance, there’s a statue of a covert listening device, which clearly tells a visitor to the museum that they are under surveillance.
Exhibitions in the museum are categorized into three themed areas: the “Life in a Tower Block” area, the “State and Ideology” area, and the “Public Life” area. These areas, all for themselves, represent the negative and positive sides of the old East Germany, made visible through the exhibitions they display.
These three themes are represented by a total of thirty-five modules which include: Media, literature, music, ideology, culture, education, family, Ministry for State Security, education, vacation, private niche, penal system, health, equality, diet, childhood, youth, and partnership.
Also fashion, border, Berlin, track, work, consumption, construction, education, free time, environment, party, economy, state, army, brother states, wall, opposition, and authority.
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Jewish Museum Berlin
Address: Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin, Germany
The Jewish Museum Berlin (aka Jüdisches Museum Berlin) was established in the year 2001. It happens to be the largest European Jewish museum. The museum portrays the Jewish history in Germany beginning from the Middle Ages up until the present age in new scenography and focuses.
The structural design of the museum consists of three buildings. Two of these buildings were designed by Daniel Libeskind, who is a Polish-American architect, artist, professor, and set designer, and they came on years later after the first building.
The German-Jewish history here is documented in exhibits and co and is seen through the museum’s program of events. Crowds pull up to the museum for several purposes such as recreational, educational, tourism, etc. As of 2017, the museum has welcomed more than eleven million guests since its open year in 2001.
This thus makes the museum one of the most visited German museums. Facing the Jewish Museum Berlin is the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin.
The design for the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin was also drawn by Daniel Libeskind around 2011, and the structure stands on the spot were used to be the flower market hall.
Located in this academy are resources referencing the Jewish Museum such as archives, library, the museum education department, the Diaspora Garden, a lecture hall, etc.
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Address: Bodestraße 1-3, 10178 Berlin, Germany
The Neues Museum, translated in English to mean the New Museum, is situated in Bodestraße 1-3, 10178 Berlin, Germany. It was built far back as 1843-1855 following an order by King Frederick William IV of Prussia, following the architectural building design by Friedrich August Stuler, who was Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s student.
The structure is patterned after the nineteenth-century Neoclassical and Renaissance Revival styles, and it is considered Friedrich August Stutler’s major work.
The museum is a part of the listed buildings on Museum Island in Berlin’s historic centre and a part of the UNESCO World Heritage. During the Second World War and decay in East Germany, the museum was met with massive destruction.
The ornate interiors of the Glypototheck and the Alte Pinakothek interior in Munich were also destroyed during the war. These destructions were not restored until 1999-2009 when David Chipperfield resurfaced to reconstruct the museum.
The museum houses the Agyptisches Museum, the Papyrussammlung, the Museum für Vorund Frühgeschichte, and parts of the Antikensammlung. The exhibits displayed in the museum include the Egyptian and Prehistory and Early History Collections. An example is the artifact of the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti.
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Museum für Fotografie
Address: Jebensstraße 2, 10623 Berlin, Germany
The Museum für Fotografie, literary translated in English to mean Museum of Photography, is a photography museum (museum owning photographs as its exhibits) located in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin, Germany. Precisely, it is situate in Jebensstraße 2, 10623 Berlin, Germany.
The Museum of Photography is nearest to the Zoologischer Garten S-Bahn station. The museum is owned by the Berlin State and is administered by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. It occupies a building built in 1909, where exactly the mess of former Landwehr officers was. Heino Schmieden designed the building.
The museum began its operations and started to open to the public in 2004 and has two organizations exhibiting their photography works in it. The ground and first floors are occupied with exhibits from the Helmut Newton Foundation; such exhibits include a series of Newton’s nudes.
The second floor has exhibits from The Art Library. He donated photographs of Newton in the museum to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in 2003, which had formed groups upon which the Helmut Newton Foundation was established.
There’s always a rotation in the exhibition on the ground floor. On the second floor of the museum, temporary exhibitions are displayed. The photography displayed ranges from retrospectives to works by promising talents. For lovers of the art of photography, this museum is a sure nice place to spot.
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Address: Am Kupfergraben, 10117 Berlin, Germany
The Bode Museum was formerly known as the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum, named after Emperor Frederick Museum. The museum is located in Am Kupfergraben, 10117 Berlin, Germany. The renaming of the museum in 1956 was to honour its first curator, Wilhelm von Bode.
The museum’s structure was raised from 1898 up until 1904 following a decree by German Emperor William II. The structure, which appears in the Baroque Revival style, was patterned by Ernst von Ihne. The museum is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage and is listed among the Museum Island in the historic centre of Berlin.
As at present, the Bode-Museum is houses the Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, the Skulpturensammlung and the Münzkabinett. Basically, the museum mixes varying forms of collections such as sculpture collections, Byzantine art, and coins and medals.
Such a mixture of collections could be seen on the first floor, which keeps chronological and geographical exhibits, the Byzantine art and Gothic art of northern and southern Europe. On the second floor are Renaissance and Baroque art forms.
The museum inclusively houses artwork of the Christian Orient, sculptures of the Middle Ages, the Early Renaissance, and the Italian Gothic. In the coming years, selected works of the Gemäldegalerie are also excepted to be represented in the museum, among the other collections, as a way of reminiscing on what Bode meant by “style room.”
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German Museum of Technology
Address: Trebbiner Str. 9, 10963 Berlin, Germany
The German Museum of Technology, most known among Germans as Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin, is situated in Berlin, Germany. German Museum of Technology is a museum of science and technology, and as such, houses as its exhibits collections of technological artifacts from times past.
The museum was established in the year 1982. The museum was only to display rail transport exhibits from the original plan, but over the years, it began gradually to display sorts of industrial technology. Such includes a new extension that displays maritime and aviation exhibitions, built-in 2003.
In the museum, there’s also a science centre with the name Spectrum. Present-day collections included in the museum include exhibits from locomotives, aircraft, shipping, railways, automobile, film technology, and computer.
The German Museum of Technology has two windmills, one German and the other Dutch. The museum also includes a brewery and a water wheel-powered forge.
The museum is a practical ground to gain knowledge on the history of technology. The museum makes room for daily demonstrations, guided tours, and hands-on activities.
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Address: Clayallee 135, 14195 Berlin, Germany
The Allied Museum, known in German as Alliierten Museum, is a political and military history museum located in Berlin.
Collections in this museum are typically political history exhibits, military commitments, and the roles of the Western Allies in Germany (particularly Berlin) between 1945 to 1994, including their role in ensuring Berlin’s liberty over the period of the Cold War Era.
These Western Allies are the United States, Britain, and France. The Allied Museum stands on Clayallee, an arterial road that got its name from General Lucius D. Clay, a one-time senior officer of the United States, known for his administration of occupied Germany after World War II.
The museum was started in the year 1998 with an inauguration ceremony to celebrate Berlin airlift’s 50th anniversary in the presence of Chancellor Helmut Kohl. The museum documents the European Advisory Commission’s early period of partition plans.
As an exhibit in the museum is the former film theatre constructed in 1953, which home to a collection of Berlin maps, military uniforms, photos of Red Army forces on the march to Berlin, CARE packages, first postwar Berlin newspaper editions, etc. The museum inclusively makes provisions for lectures and screenings.
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Address: Am Köllnischen Park 5, 10179 Berlin, Germany
The Märkisches Museum, simply meaning Marcher Museum (originally Märkisches Provinzial-Museum, which translates to English means Museum of the Province of the March [of Brandenburg]), is a museum situated in Mitte, Berlin.
The museum was established in the year 1874 in a building on Köllnischer Park’s northern edge, opposite the Spree. The building was a plan laid out by Ludwig Hoffmann. Currently, the museum is the main facility of the Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin, Landesmuseum für Kultur und Geschichte Berlins, the City of Berlin museum foundation.
The inspiration for the museum was born out of the need to preserve the things that had been lost in the city of Berlin. The Märkisches Museum happens to be Berlin’s first museum to be totally free of Prussian ownership. It was a product of donations from foundations and individuals, originally budgeted at 2,000 Goldmark’s.
Later on, however, the Emperor made a little contribution of the fund to the purchase of photographs of the city.
Years later, to improve the appearance of the museum’s structure, Ludwig Hoffmann, who had just been appointed chief of construction over Berlin, designed the museum as a complex of six buildings modelled in the Brandenburg style.
Unfortunately, the second world war caused a lot of destruction to the museum. However, in years to come, it was rebuilt.
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German Historical Museum
Address: Unter den Linden 2, 10117 Berlin, Germany
The German Historical Museum, known in German as Deutsches Historisches Museum (DHM), as the name contains, is a museum situated in Unter den Linden 2, 10117 Berlin, Germany.
The museum is typically devoted to German history. It is exactly situated in the Zeughaus (armoury) on the Unter den Linden, and it is also positioned adjacent to the Exhibition Hall designed by I. M. Pei.
The museum has welcomed millions of visitors and is considered one of Berlin’s most important museums. Additionally, the museum is described as a place where one can acquire enlightenment and comprehension of the shared German and European history.
The museum ranks high in the Board of Trustees (Kuratorium) and is duly registered by the Federal Republic of Germany.
The museum serves more than mere recreational purposes: it is inclusively used for research and educational purposes. The museum contains a section called The Permanent Exhibition in the Zeughaus, which houses more than six thousand artifacts.
All these put together (the artifacts) represent German history within its international context. The Pei building houses the museum’s temporary exhibitions. Basically, all exhibits displayed in the museum represent German history at different levels.
Different collections displayed in the museum range from Everyday Life Culture (1, 2, and 3), to Old and Valuable Prints, to Documents, Picture Archives, etc.
Address: Bodestraße 1-3, 10178 Berlin, Germany
The Pergamonmuseum, meaning Pergamon Museum in English, is a museum situated in Bodestraße Berlin, in Germany.
The museum is also one of the listed buildings on Museum Island in the historic centre of Berlin and is equally a part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Built from the year 1910 to 1930, the museum still is in existence up until today.
It was established based on an order from the German Emperor, Wilhelm II, and was architecturally designed by Alfred Messel and Ludwig Hoffmann. The building’s design was patterned in the Stripped Classicism style. The Second World War inflicted severe damages to the museum, specifically at the time of air attacks on Berlin.
The Red Army took away all the loose items of the museum in 1945, and a major return was done in 1958. However returned, the museum’s items are still not completely returned. It is believed that some are in Russia, Moscow, etc., and hoped to be all retrieved in the soonest.
The museum displays sculptures from the archaic to Hellenistic ages as well as Greek and Roman artwork antiquity such as architecture, inscriptions, sculptures, mosaics, jewellery, bronzes, and pottery.
Today, the museum is the dwelling of Antikensammlung, including the famous Pergamon Altar, the Vorderasiatisches Museum, and the Museum für Islamische Kunst.
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Address: Poststraße 23, 10178 Berlin, Germany
The Museum Knoblauxhhaus, known in German as Märkisches Museum, originally Märkisches Provinzial-Museum, which, if literally translated, means “Museum of the Province of the March [of Brandenburg]),” is a museum situated in Mitte, Berlin.
The museum began in the year 1874 as a Berlin museum. The structure of the museum is opposite Spree, and Ludwig Hoffmann modelled the structure. Though the building started in 1874, it was only completed in 1908.
It is now the main facility of the Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin, Landesmuseum für Kultur und Geschichte Berlins, the City of Berlin museum foundation, which also operates four other sites. The building that houses the museum was formally a private family house before it was transformed into the museum that it now is.
This wealthy family that owned the family is credited in the museum: one can see such credits in the exhibits and documentation housed in the living quarters, which, though reconstructed, still maintains its originality. Basically, Museum Knoblauchhaus is a museum that represents the Biedermeier era in Berlin.
It uses artifacts and other art forms to do this representation. Intriguing information about architecture, culture, economy, and social life of the Biedermeier rea are represented.
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Museum for Communication Berlin
Address: Leipziger Str. 16, 10117 Berlin, Germany
The Museum for Communication Berlin is a Post and Communication Museum situates at Leipziger Str. 16, 10117 Berlin, Germany.
The museum stands in the district of Mitte, Berlin. It is housed in the building used to the former Reichspostmuseum on Leipziger Strasse, which was also one time the corner of Mauerstrasse.
The two world wars that’d happened forced the museum into a closure, and the worse of them, the Second World War, left the museum in so much of a bad shape—so severe that as at the time the war ended, what was left of the museum was only its surrounding walls.
In the 1960s, however, work began for the reconstruction of the building. Originally, the plan was to construct just a small space for the stamp exhibition. Still, over the years, the museum grew and grew, expanding to include various other extensions that would house some other collections as well.
Constructions kept on gradually until 1990 when the fall of the Berlin Wall had just occurred. Then, in 1992, new construction work began as the Henze & Vahjen architectural office was hired to restore the building based on historical preservations criteria. The museum was opened eight years later by Federal President Johannes Rau in 2000.
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DESIGNPANOPTIKUM- surreal museum for industrial objects
Address: Poststraße 7, 10178 Berlin, Germany
The Designpanoptikum museum is located in Poststraße 7, 10178 Berlin, Germany. The idea of the museum is to showcase surreal industrial objects, ranging from a large collection of technological objects collected by Vlad Korneev in Berlin, Germany.
The museum stands nearest to Nikolaikirche, in Nikolaiviertel, at the centre of Berlin-Mitte. Initially, Korneev started the museum as a shop museum (then situate in Schwerin), until in 2010 when the museum moved to a much larger space to contain many more collections.
The museum houses exhibit various fields of life such as medicine, sports, aviation, film, construction, and industry. What the museum aims to do is typically not just the individual representation of these objects but also to provide knowledge of their compilation and arrangements.
Therefore, exhibits displayed in the museum are purposely left off of details and descriptions of themselves, but instead on the interaction of their forms and operational modes.
As an exercise, visitors are often encouraged to decipher the uses of some of these objects and are inclusively permitted to touch them. Notable works in the museum include a photo gallery of film projectors from Zeiss Ikon, plate camera, iron lung ejection seat of Martin-Baker, etc.
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Military History Museum – airport Berlin-Gatow
Address: Am Flugplatz Gatow 33, 14089 Berlin, Germany
The Military History Museum – airport Berlin-Gatow, also known as The Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr – Flugplatz Berlin-Gatow or Bundeswehr Museum of Military History – Berlin-Gatow Airfield, which was formerly called Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr, is a museum situated in Berlin, Germany.
It is the Berlin branch of the Bundeswehr Military History Museum. It was founded in the year 1995 by Helmut Jaeckel and owned by Bundeswehr.
However, the museum’s history can be traced down to 1957 as the year when the idea of such a museum was conceived, during the period when Helmut Jaeckel, an ex-government official, started gathering collections of Wehrmacht soldiers and showcasing them at the Uetersen Airfield.
Around the 1960s, a trustee was set up to run the new museum, but this failed to lack funds. In 1987, Bundeswehr took over the operation of the museum since they could afford the financial responsibilities. From 1995 to 1996, the museum was relocated to the former airbase at RAF Gatow.
The military museum represents the military history, especially the German Air Force post-war. There are over two hundred thousand items of such collections, comprising one hundred and fifty-five aeroplanes, thirty thousand books, and five thousand military uniforms.
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Topography of Terror
Address: Niederkirchnerstraße 8, 10963 Berlin, Germany
The Topography of Terror is an outdoor and indoor history museum in Berlin, Germany. It stands in Niederkirchnerstrasse, on were used to be known as Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse. In German, the museum is called Topographie des Terrors.
The number one exhibition collected for the museum was in 1987. Around the early 1990s, there was an establishment of a foundation that would oversee the construction and maintenance of the centre. Rabbi Andreas Nachama is the managing director.
Peter Zunthor, a Swiss architect and winner of the Pritzker Prize, was awarded taking credits for the museum’s design since his plan stood out over others.
However, Zunthor’s design proved too expensive. When the construction began, the construction company in charge withdrew their interest in building the structure since the federal government wasn’t going to make up for the remaining balance to run the structure through.
This, the museum, having consumed 13.8 million Euros already, was left, not even halfway to the intended structure. Following all these, the whole structure was demolished in 2004.
In 2006, architects Ursula Wilma and Heinz W. Hallmann won the second round of design competition launched in 2005. This design adopted some features of Zunthor’s design. The construction was completed, and the museum was launched in May 2010.
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Address: Zwieseler Str. 4, 10318 Berlin, Germany
The German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst, known in German as Deutsch-Russisches Museum Berlin-Karlshorst, is a museum situated in Zwieseler Str. 4, 10318 Berlin, Germany. The museum is basically dedicated to German-Soviet and German-Russian relations. More particularly, the museum’s focus is on the German-Soviet war of 1941-1945.
The museum’s ground happens to be the same venue where, on the 8th of May 1945, the German armed forces (Wehrmacht) unconditionally surrender. As at the time, the building was the Wehrmacht pioneer school’s office and the Soviet Military Administration’s headquarters as well.
The German-Russian Museum was officially opened in 1995 when the restructuring of the permanent exhibition was completed. The permanent exhibition covers a 1,000 square meter space and represents German-Soviet relations from the year 1917 up until 1990.
The exhibition’s major focus is on the German-Soviet War 1941-1945, the political background, the hostile stereotypes and propaganda, the soldiers’ and civilians’ everyday life during the war. In the surrender room situated in the museum, a film is always displayed, showing the signing of the Act of Surrender in 1945.
Monuments from the Soviet times and the soldiers’ original exhibition can be seen in the museum. Items collected in the museum include objects from the Central Museum of Armed Forces Moscow, some other items from Germany and Eastern Europe.
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Museum at the Kulturbrauerei
Address: Knaackstraße 97, 10435 Berlin, Germany
The Museum in the Kulturbrauerei is a museum located in Knaackstraße Berlin, Germany. The museum was established in the year 2013, with Mike Lukasch as director. It is a museum of contemporary German history. The museum occupies the Kulturbrauerei building complex along the Prenzlauer Berg district.
The museum’s permanent exhibition focuses on portraying the daily life of the German Democratic Republic in the contemporary age.
Such portrayal displays the complex tensions that exist between the living true living conditions of the people of the German Democratic Republic and the expectations of the political system. Products, posters, photographs, archive materials, etc., are displayed in the Industrial Design Collection section of the museum.
These exhibits are forms in which the day-to-day living conditions of the people in the area are documented. The numerical presentation brings the total items in the museum at eight hundred, coupled with more than two hundred more documents, recordings, films, and biographical reports.
The building into which the museum is was developed by the Foundation Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland into the modern style it currently has.
There is no entry fee required to get into the museum. Visitors get the opportunity to see all these exhibitions for free and are even presented with a free audio guide to the permanent exhibition in different languages.
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German Spy Museum
Address: Leipziger Pl. 9, 10117 Berlin, Germany
The German Spy Museum, popularly known as The Berlin Spy Museum, is a privately owned spy museum situated in Leipziger PI. Berlin, Germany. It was created by Franz-Michael Günther, who was once a journalist and was opened to the public in the year 2015, September 19th precisely.
It had been Günther’s dream was to form a spy museum in Germany’s former spy capital, and thus his passion for this dream led to its accomplishment.
The museum represents the history of spies and espionage within the area of its location. It stands in the central area of Potsdamer Platz. Permanent exhibitions here carry in their histories of espionage stories and techniques from centuries far. Thus, the museum practically provides educational facilities on the subject of its focus.
Using one thousand different artifacts and exhibits, the museum can portray World War I and II, and the Cold War, Cryptology, Listening Devices, Spy Cameras, Animals Used as Spies, e.g., pigeons, Double Agents, 007 – Espionage in Movies, Conspiracy Theories and Espionage, Secret Services and Poison.
Also, Glienicke Bridge (Spy exchanges), Secret Service Operations, Espionage in Present and Future, etc. In the museum, exhibits are arranged chronologically, making provisions for a physical timeline through which visitors pass through.
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Address: Schloßstraße 1a, 14059 Berlin, Germany
The Bröhan Museum is a museum situated in Schloßstraße 1a, 14059 Berlin, Germany. The museum is dedicated to Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Functionalism.
The museum lives off the founder’s name: Karl H. Bröhan, an entrepreneur and art collector. Bröhan donated his art collections on his sixtieth birthday to the Berlin state. The museum was opened to the public in 1983 on where it currently is situated.
Space where the museum stands today, which was initially built to house the guard regiment, belong to the Charlottenburg Palace ensemble. Since 1994, its affairs have been run by the Berlin state—i.e., it has been a state museum since 1994.
Beautiful collections of Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Functionalism, including works from the Berlin Secession, are housed in the museum. Permanent exhibitions in this museum are in constant change. This helps the museum present its extensive collection to the public.
In addition, the Bröhan Museum hosts several events and educational programs. Conference meetings, for example, are held here, dance performances, concerts, etc. The museum is named after Karl H. Bröhan, who was a salesman and privately owned a dental wholesale business.
He started his collections of eighteenth-century porcelain around the early 1960s. These collections can still be found in the museum up until today.
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Museum of Decorative Arts
Address: Matthäikirchplatz, 10785 Berlin, Germany
The Museum of Decorative Arts, also known as the Kunstgewerbemuseum, is a museum exhibiting decorative arts in various forms. Decorative arts refer to crafts, sculptures, or any other form of artwork patterned very intricately and yet very useful for other purposes.
Such objects are usually used to beautiful interior or exterior of houses. Examples are ceramic art, furniture, metalwork, textile art, etc. The museum is situated in Matthäikirchplatz, 10785 Berlin, Germany. It was founded in the year 1868, then known as Deutsches Gewerbe-Museum zu Berlin, and in it was an educational institute.
In 1879, the museum became renamed Kunstgewerbemuseum, at which point in time it had acquired a whole lot of more collections.
Collections in the museum are divided such that the Kunstgewerbemuseum building at the Kulturforum holds up some, and the Köpenick Palace holds up the other. In the 1940s, during the Second World War, the museum lost many of its collections to the war.
The Kunstgewerbemuseum showcases decorative arts of European origin dating from all post-classical periods of art history. These include enamel items, silver items, glass, gold, porcelain, etc.