Behind the scenes

What you always wanted to know about the DDR Museum …

Today we will answer five interesting questions about the DDR Museum so you can get to know our institution a little better!
by Maria Bartholomäus (12 Aug 2015)

Today we will answer five interesting questions about the DDR Museum so you can get to know our institution a little better!

 

Where does the idea to found the museum come from?

During a trip to Berlin the ethnologist Peter Kenzelmann from Freiburg wanted to visit a museum about the GDR – he was convinced that there should be one and asked about it at a tourist information. The answer was: „Well … we do have a former prison of the Stasi (former East German Ministry of State Security (MfS) ) and the Berlin Wall Memorial here, but a museum about the GDR, no.“ This is how the idea was formed, which he then discussed with our director of today Robert Rückel. They found out that rehabilitation in museums merely deals with only a few topics concerning the GDR, but not the connection between the seemingly positive and the elements of a dictatorship – a fact the two men wanted to change. So they decided to open a museum which deals with the everyday life of the GDR. It was celebratorily opened by the former senator of culture and the mayor of Berlin-Mitte. The goals of the museum are to generate interest in recent German history, to connect education and entertainment as well as to trigger understanding between people of different backgrounds and nationalities.

Why is there an admission?

The DDR Museum decided to run a museum without wastage of taxpayers' money. Our entire company is therefore funded by the admission fees. A museum also is a whole lot more than just the permanent exhibition, it further consists of an administration department, a scientific team as well as a collection with more than 200.000. objects, which have to be analyzed and conserved professionally.

Where to the exhibits come from?

The exhibits in our permanent exhibition mostly derive from private households, which committed their „treasures“ to the museum. Thousands of different donors have preserved numerous objects for coming generations. In the beginning we even honored some donors with a certificate as well as free entry to the museum for a lifetime. The donated objects are registered and  conserved professionally in our museum's depot so they can eventually find their way into the exhibition. During temporary exhibitions (http://www.ddr-museum.de/en/events) there are also a number of objects from private collectors or other cultural institutions on display.

Who visits the DDR Museum?

Our visitors come from both national as well as international destinations and represent all age groups. About two thirds of them are from the former GDR and former Western Germany, about one third is visiting us from neighboring European countries. A little more than half of our guests are younger than 30, the rest is accordingly above that age. 91% of our visitors would recommend us to friends or family.  Currently we have a total of 3.816.212 visitors (status June 11th 2015).

Why should you visit the DDR Museum?

A visit to our museum is worthwhile for a number of reasons. First, the interactive design of our exhibition is one of a kind worldwide and worth seeing in any case. You will not simply be looking at rows of glass cases but you will have to engage actively in order to experience our exhibition. Second, at the DDR Museum you have the chance to talk to contemporary witnesses and to experience history first-hand. These conversations will bring the GDR back to life and you will have the possibility to ask specific questions and deepen certain individual topics of interest. Third, the DDR Museum is the only institution focusing on the everyday life during the GDR with all its diverse facets. Additionally to the topics Stasi, Berlin Wall and SED you can also drive around a „Plattenbau“ (prefabricated slab-construction buildings) residential area with our Trabant, dance the Lipsi dance as well as take a seat in our originally furbished living room. So whatever object interests you in our museum, please do touch!

Do you have further questions concerning the museum? Please feel free to ask them on Facebook, Twitter, via phone ( 030-847 123 730) or mail (post@ddr-museum.de)!

 
 
   

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