The DDR Museum’s birthday!

Exactly six years and four days ago the DDR Museum opened! This might not be such a long time for a museum but since I am one of the very first employees at the museum, this is an opportunity to look back at my personal highlights.
by Melanie Alperstaedt (19 Jul 2012)

Exactly six years and four days ago the DDR Museum opened! This might not be such a long time for a museum but since I am one of the very first employees at the museum, this is an opportunity to look back at my personal highlights.

The time shortly before the opening was uniquely exciting, but also very exhausting for all of us. Indeed, it was nice to be able to watch a museum being built from day one, but everyone of us had incredibly much to do. Already back then, we made sure to take photos regularly so that now we can keep alive the memory of the beginnings. What the area of the museum looked like at the very beginning is hard to imagine. The space was huge and there was only concrete everywhere. Big concrete piles, cold concrete floors, a concrete staircase which was way too short and very high concrete ceilings. There was no proper floor, no system of wires, no toilets, no pipes and no colour except for grey! The colleagues and the architect Frank Wittmer made this big grey room into a lively exhibition with their many ideas and an exciting concept.

But do you know who made an essential contribution to make the whole idea of the museum work? Our donors who generously donated us their objects from the GDR. Added together, our archive had to move several times already because the collection gets bigger and bigger. At the beginning, we were looking for almost everything, but by now we are only looking for particular things. You can find them listed at our website.

When the employees of the administration were still in a smaller office, I, the press spokeswoman, heard a lot more from the donors and their stories. Therefore I still have strong memories of a woman who had stitched her own wedding dress in the GDR and donated it to us, together with a photo of her wedding. She took much time for it and told us the associated story. You will never forget such a moment!
Another donor, a young man, brought us his old guitar from the GDR times which he had decorated with several stickers. All of this was a long time ago, but in the meantime this unique guitar has become the subject for one of our own produced magnets and is bought at the museum from people from all over the world.

These are only two examples of hundreds of donations, but it is not only work - you also share in the donors' memories, their past. Although daily life can be very busy, this is an experience that enriches your own life. Unfortunately, this is not part of my everyday work anymore because mostly there's not enough time to take a look at other workspaces. Well, I am glad I was able to take a little tour through the archive at least after months! So unfortunately I don't have time for the donation support anyway.

An important step in the DDR Museum's history was surely the enlargement of the exhibition in 2010. And again, there was a big construction area at the museum which made the development visible from day to day. This is why we took a lot of photos again and published them on our Facebook page or blog. This time, all of our readers and people interested in the museum should have an insight into the museum's enlargement and the opening of the GDR restaurant Domklause. In addition to many new topics as well as exhibits, we also got many new colleagues. And of course, also the possibility to have a warm lunch from the menu! I've tasted it many times in the past so that I am well-informed about it now. Apart from hearty GDR meals you can choose from daily changing fish dishes - every now and then, me and my colleagues from the office are even allowed to taste new creations from the kitchen! In the restaurant you can also get a view behind the scenes and get to know completely new work processes. Mainly, it has become my favourite restaurant where I get nice dishes from the cheerful service staff. Who can say that about their workplace?!

However, no article can outline all milestones of the DDR Museum's history, there have just been too many during the last years. This is only a small, personal selection. You can find many articles here in our blog though, because we want to give you an insight into our work, our daily life and special events, of course.
In case you are interested in the history of the DDR Museum, please take your time to browse through our blog!

Translation: Silvana Wrusch

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