Rachel Kaplan, Little-Known Museums in and Around Berlin Rachel Kaplan
Little-Known Museums in and Around Berlin

Harry N. Abrams, 1999, ISBN: 0810929031

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This unique, illustrated, accessible guide features practical information on 30 remarkable museums in Berlin and the surrounding countryside, including collection highlights, addresses and phone numbers, hours and admissions— everything needed to guarantee many memorable visits.

A Selection of Little-Known Museums in and Around Berlin

  • Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem (Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem)http://www.csu.edu.au/education.html
    Freie Universität Berlin, Königin-Luise-Strasse 6-8, 14191 Berlin; Tel: 83006-0
    (The original botanical garden was laid out between 1897 and 1903. Devastated during WW II, the present 126-acre garden has over 20,000 different plant species with 16 greenhouses. It has some of the oldest food samples— grains of emmer, malted barley, grape leaves, and fruits from date-palm and fig tree dating to 2000 B.C.)

  • Brecht House-Brecht-Weigel Memorial (Brecht Haus-Brecht-Weigel-Gedenkstätte)http://www.csu.edu.au/education.html
    Chausseestrasse 125, 10115 Berlin; Tel: 282-99-16
    (The German playwright & poet Bertholt Brecht moved into this apartment in March 1954. The library contains over 4000 books with many paperback mysteries which Brecht read avidly, and a huge portrait of Confucius hanging on the wall. An antique Chinese Scroll hangs in his bedroom which inspired one of his most famous poems, “The Doubter.”)

  • Bridge Museum-Berlin (Brücke Museum-Berlin)http://www.csu.edu.au/education.html
    Bussardsteig 9, D-14195 Berlin (Dahlem); Tel: 8-31-20-29 or 8-32-60-12
    (Die Brücke or The Bridge was a a German artists' group active in Dresden and Berlin from 1905 to 1914, which rebelled against the stifling academicism of Wilhelmine Germany. The group was pioneered by four architectural students, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, and Fritz Bleyl, that would later include Max Pechstein, Emil Nolde, and Otto Mueller. Kirchner's Portrait of Marcella from 1910 reveals Fauvist influence of Derain and Matisse. It's interesting that Marcella resembles a Polynesian primitive, reclining in a sofa dressed in tiger's stripes next to a white cat.)

  • Film Museum-Potsdam (Filmmuseum-Potsdam)http://www.csu.edu.au/education.html
    Schloss Strasse 1, 14467 Potsdam; Tel: (0331) 271-8113
    (The museum has a replica of Lilian Harvey's dressing room, Marlene Dietrich's monogrammed navy-blue dressing-gown and silk clutch bag, and propagand movies of the Nazi era.)

  • Käthe Kollwitz Museum (Käthe Kollwitz Museum)http://www.csu.edu.au/education.html
    Fasanenstrasse 24, 10719 Berlin; Tel: 882-52-10
    [The museum devoted to Germany's most important 20th century female sculptor and graphic artist, Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945) is housed in a private mansion built in 1871. In her artwork, Kollwitz focused on the anquish of the downtrodden and the forgotten, reminding us to have compassion for those people who “are so desperate and in need of help.”]

  • Georg Kolbe Museum (Georg Kolbe Museum)http://www.georg-kolbe-museum.de/
    Sensburger Allee 25, 14055 Berlin-Charlottenburg; Tel: 304-21-44
    [Built in 1928 by the Bauhaus-inspired Swiss architect Ernst Rentsch, the museum is a showcase for the German figurative sculptor Georg Kolbe (1877-1947) and the works of his contemporaries Gerhard Marcks (1881-1981), Rudolf Belling (1888-1972), and Renée Sinteris (1888-1965). Kolbe's bronze statue Dancer in the Fountain leaps into the air with such exuberant energy that she seems to soar out of the water like a bird in flight.]

  • Luther's Hall Wittenberg (Lutherhalle Wittenberg)http://www.csu.edu.au/education.html
    Collegienstrasse 54, D-06886 Lutherstadt Wittenberg; Tel: (0-34-91) 40-26-71
    (Located in the former 16th century Augustinian monastery, this museum had the molds of Luther's hands and death mask, the bronze doors cast in 1858 inscribed with Luther's 95 Theses in Latin, Against the Doctrine of Indulgences first printed on Oct. 31, 1517. There is even an interactive computer station equipped with a CD-ROM about all the major events during Luther's 38 years in Wittenberg.)

  • Museum of Musical Instruments (Musikinstrumenten Museum)http://www.csu.edu.au/education.html
    Tiergartenstrasse 1, 10785 Berlin-Tiergarten; Tel: 254-81-0
    (Opened in 1888 by the Prussian state, the museum's core collection contains 34 instruments and 240 items from Leipzig's music publisher Paul de Wit. By the 1920s, the museum's holdings had increased to over 3200 items. Most of the collection were destroyed by bombing during WW II. Today the museum has reassembled 2500 instruments including a rare 1703 violin made by Stradivari of Cremona.)

  • Peacock Island (Pfaueninsel)http://www.csu.edu.au/education.html
    Düppel Forest, Berlin; Tel: 805-3042
    [The summer palace on Peacock Island was constructed to resemble a Neo-Gothic mock ruin. One room pays tribute to Prussia's beloved and courageous Queen Luise (1776-1810), whose resistance to Napoleon, endeared her to contemporaries and later generations. The poet Jean-Paul called her “the noble muse” and a portrait of Queen Luise by Nikolaus Lauer shows why she was celebrated in Europe for her charm and beauty.]

  • Prince Pückler Museum-Branitz Castle and Park (Fürst Pückler Museum-Schloss und Park Branitz)http://www.csu.edu.au/education.html
    Zum Kavalierhaus 11, 03042 Cottbus; Tel: (03-55) 75-12-21
    [This 237-acre estate has two extraordinary earth pyramids built by Prince Hermann Pückler-Muskau (1785-1871). Modelled after the Pyramids at Giza, they serve as a grave site for himself and his wife Lucie. The Prince directed prisoners from the town to transform the flat plain into rolling hills and winding paths, set off by man-made lakes, flowing streams, and bridged-over ponds.]

  • Tegel Castle (Schloss Tegel)http://www.csu.edu.au/education.html
    Gabrielenstrasse, D-130507 Berlin; Tel: 434-3156
    [This was the former castle and estate of Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835), reknowned German statesman, linguist, and educator. It has plaster copies of the Parthenon friezes and a plaster cast of the Juno Ludovisi which inspired a poem by Goethe. There is also a porphyry copy of the Medusa Rondanini, gift from Pope Pius VII, thanking Humboldt in restoring many works taken by Napoleon from the Vatican Museum and the Villa Borghese.]

  • The Berlin Teddy Museum (Teddy Museum Berlin)http://www.csu.edu.au/education.html
    147 Kurfürstendamm, 10709 Berlin; Tel: 893-39-65
    [Florentine Bredow turned her childhood obession for stuffed animals into a collection that The Guinness Book of World Records claims as the “largest teddy bear museum” in the world. Opened in 1986, the museum has over 3000 bears and other stuffed animals in residence. One visitor wrote in a guestbook: “A teddy bear makes life bearable.”]

  • Museum of Prehistory and Early History (Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte)http://www.csu.edu.au/education.html
    Schloss Charlottenburg, Langhansbau, 14059 Berlin; Tel: 32091-233
    [The museum displays Heinrich Schliemann's excavations at Troy with many pieces of ceramic pottery. Art & antiquities from the Old & Middle Stone Ages dating to 50,000 years ago are shown along with a skeleton of a prehistoric reindeer.]

  • Sugar Museum (Zucker Museum)http://www.csu.edu.au/education.html
    Amrumer Strasse 32, 13353 Berlin; Tel: 31-42-75-74
    [Beet sugar was first discovered in Berlin in 1747 by the Prussian chemist Andreas S. Marggraf (1709-1782). His student Franz Carl Achard (1753-1821) produced the world's first edible beet sugar. Visitors can see the oldest type of sugar-refining equipment in the world, consisting of a clay funnel and pot from 1450.]

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