Berlin’s Best MuseumsAugust 22, 2015 5:41 pm
Berlin is one of the most culturally important cities for its history so it makes sense to take the time out to visit some of the best museums in Berlin to discover all the city has to offer in terms of natural history, civil history and art.
Geographically, most museums can be found in the main cultural hub, the Museum Island, but even across the city you’ll be fascinated by the world-class exhibits on offer. Here are some of our top museums in Berlin:
The Neues Museum on Museum Island is a great example of a surviving building through both wars. Construction started in 1843 but it was heavily damaged 100 years later at the beginning of WWII and the bombings of Berlin. The rebuild was influenced by the iconic British architect, David Chipperfield, so any budding architects will appreciate the style of the building which nods to 19th century neoclassical museums. Within, however, is where the best of it lies. Exhibiting Egyptian and Prehistory and Early History collections, it contains priceless historic artefacts waiting to be discovered. Including a Neanderthal skull, the bust of the Egyptian queen, Nefertiti, that’s just a flavour of what’s on offer…
Opposite to the Neues Museum (one literally means old and new), the Altes Museum sits south of its counterpart on the Museum Island. Originally it was built to house the Prussian royal family’s art collection and until 1845 it was actually called the Königliches Museum (Royal Museum). To this day it is still home to the Antikensammlung – or the antiquities collection – of the joint Berlin State Museum so promises great exhibits of classical Greek collection and even a treasury. Don’t forget to admire the stunning neoclassical features of the building, too, complete with Roman style pillars and a rotunda of statues.
Bauhaus Archives – Museum of Design
The Bauhaus Archive, aka the Museum of Design, was founded by members of the Bauhaus movement and now is dedicated to its history, art, teaching, architecture and design. The Bauhaus School was one of the most influential in terms of architecture, design and art in the 20th century so visitors to this fascinating museum can learn about its influencers, see the collection which contains teaching materials, workshop and architecture models, photographs and a library of other media. You can admire the building’s architecture which was designed by the founder of the Bauhaus movement, Walter Gropius himself.
A visit to Berlin isn’t complete unless you visit the Jewish Museum – a poignant museum that looks at the history of German Jews over two millennia. Built by architect Daniel Libeskind it’s now considered one of the most important contemporary buildings in Berlin and has come to be a symbolic structure as any. Did you know at the start of the 20th century Berlin was the largest Jewish city in the world, and one third of the 100 richest Prussians were also Jews. After Hitler’s holocaust it stripped Germany’s Jewish culture and it’s still recovering. The Jewish Museum is multifaceted and offers emotive exhibitions to both honour and commemorate the past, present and future German Jews.
Checkpoint Charlie Museum
The Checkpoint Charlie Museum, otherwise known as the Mauer Museum, is located right on the old checkpoint C border crossing. The Museum details the history of the Berlin Wall and the stories of those who were affected by it. Learn about the tales of those who escaped to win their freedom and those who tragically died trying. See real historic and personal artefacts from the infamous escapees, such as escape cars, hot air balloons and mini-submarines, displayed in this fascinating museum. Don’t forget to get a selfie outside the checkpoint itself with the guards as a perfect holiday memento!
Back to Museum Island, the Pergamon Museum, is an unforgettable museum that displays original-sized, reconstructed buildings – such as the Pergamon Alter and the Market Gate of Miletus. The museum is also formed of an antiquity collection, a Middle East department and Islamic art. The Pergamon Alter is a stunning artefact and dates back to 2BC when it was built for a terrace at the acropolis of the ancient city of Pergamon in Asia Minor. Take in the intricate craftsmanship from the statues and carvings – you can’t help but be impressed. Another exhibit to look out for is the breath-taking Ishtar Gate in the Middle East Museum.