Tina Brüderlin to head the Ethnologisches Museum

News from 10/13/2021

The Ethnologisches Museum of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, comprising two sites at the Humboldt Forum and in Dahlem, will get a new director in January.

Portrait of a woman
© Britt Schilling

The new director of the Ethnologisches Museum (Ethnological Museum) of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) will be Tina Brüderlin, who is currently in charge of the ethnological collection at the Museum Natur und Mensch (Museum of Nature and Man) in Freiburg. She succeeds Jonathan Fine, who moved to Vienna in July 2021 to head the Weltmuseum (formerly the Museum of Ethnology ). The new appointment was decided by the SPK Foundation Board at the end of June. Ms. Brüderlin will take up her new post on January 15, 2022.

Tina Brüderlin was born in Colorado in the United States in 1977. She studied ethnology with minors in American Studies and Cultural Geography at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, and at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, USA. In the course of her academic career, she came to specialize in two regions: East Africa and North America, with a particular focus on the South Omo region of Ethiopia and the Pacific Northwest Coast of Canada and Alaska, where she made a number of trips to carry out field research. After finishing her studies, Ms. Brüderlin worked as a research assistant in the "Cultural and Linguistic Contacts" interdisciplinary research center at the University of Mainz. From 2007 to 2009, she worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York as a collections and curatorial assistant in the departments of North American ethnology and African ethnology. Afterwards she was a research assistant on a collaborative project called "One History – Two Perspectives: Culturally Specific Modes of Representation of the ‘Exotic Other’ on the Pacific Northwest Coast, with reference to the local terms of trade as studied in the collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin." In this context, she carried out provenance research into objects from the Haida and Tlingit peoples in the collection of the Ethnologisches Museum, working in close cooperation with representatives of these communities. She has remained familiar with the museum in Berlin ever since.

Since 2012, Tina Brüderlin has been in charge of the ethnological collection at the Museum Natur und Mensch in Freiburg, one of the largest municipally owned ethnological collections in Germany. Her main responsibilities there are to re-examine and index the museum's global collections and to promote public interest and access by various means, including digitization projects (Oceania collection; Africa collection from colonial times). She has also strengthened the area of collection research and developed the concepts for successful ethnological and interdisciplinary exhibitions. Since 2012, she has also taught regularly at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, among other places. From 2016 to 2017, Brüderlin was acting director of the Museum Natur und Mensch, which thanks to its natural history and ethnological collections has an interdisciplinary profile.

Tina Brüderlin: “The Ethnologisches Museum Berlin is a place where dynamic, challenging processes are unfolding. The collections in its keeping are among the most significant ones in the world, so the job carries a great deal of responsibility, particularly with regard to their critical reassessment as well as education and outreach. I am looking forward to helping to make the museum fit for the future and unlocking the potential for interdisciplinary collaboration within the network of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) and its partner institutions."

Hermann Parzinger: "The Ethnologisches Museum is now at the focus of public attention more than it ever has been. It needs a decisive, prudent head who will structure the complex subject areas properly and communicate their content to the general public. I am delighted that we have gained the services of such a capable, dynamic ethnologist, who also brings international experience to the task."

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