National Museums in Berlin

Glimpses of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin



  • The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin number among the largest universal museums in the world. Their fifteen collections document the evolution of human culture from its beginnings to the present.

    Collections of Worldwide Attraction

    The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) preserve around 4.7 million objects from the areas of art, archaeology, and ethnology. Their fifteen collections are among the most significant in Europe in terms of breadth and quality. Together they enjoy world-class standing. The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin also include three renowned research institutes and the Gipsformerei (Replica Workshop). They are all under the direction of the General Director.

    More than four million people visit the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin every year. The Museuminsel Berlin (Museum Island Berlin), a World Heritage Site, with its five buildings is the most popular destination. Diverse educational programs, thematic tours and opportunities to get involved invite visitors to discover the world of the museums.

    The Museumsinsel as Origin of Berlin’s Museum Landscape

    The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin were founded in 1823 as the Königliche Museen (Royal Museums). The present Altes Museum opened in 1830 as the first civic museum in Berlin. Over the course of a century, other museums were added on the site between the Spree and the Kupfergraben to form an ensemble. The creation of the Museumsinsel was also inspired by the idea of a “sanctuary for art and science.” It is the nucleus of Berlin’s museum landscape. Today the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin also have museums and institutes at other locations in the city.

    The Redesign of Berlin’s Historical Center

    The reconstruction of the historical buildings on Berlin’s Museumsinsel and the modernizing developments to the ensemble is the Foundation’s largest construction project. To that end, it established the Museumsinsel Master Plan in 1999. With the Humboldt-Forum on Schlossplatz across the boulevard Unter den Linden, a site of world cultures is being created. In the future, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin will present its non-European collections there, in the immediate vicinity of the art and culture of the Museumsinsel.

    Research in a Variety of Fields and Cross-Disciplines

    The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin continue the Prussian tradition of combining art and science. Today they form a  research institution. Their scientific activities are fundamentally shaped by their own holdings and the history of their collections. Their primary subject areas are archaeology, art history, cultural studies, and ethnology. Additionally, they engage in cross-disciplinary studies. These involve the natural sciences such as conservation science.

    The General Director of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin: Prof. Michael Eissenhauer

    After training as a furniture maker, Michael Eissenhauer studied art history, classical archaeology and German literature in Tübingen and Hamburg. In 1985 he received his PhD in art history. After positions at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin and the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, he became Director of the Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg in 1995 and Director of the Staatliche Museen Kassel in 2001. In October 2008, Michael Eissenhauer assumed the General Directorship of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.