Acquisitions and Donations

Acquisitions, indefinite loans, and donations enrich the holdings of the Foundation. All of the collections are continually supplemented in this way. The SPK ensures that the provenance of every new object is clarified. 

Eine der wichtigsten Schenkungen: Die Büste der Nofretete (1927) © bpk / Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen, Photothek Willy Römer / Willy Römer

Eine der wichtigsten Schenkungen: Die Büste der Nofretete (1927) © bpk/ Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen, Photothek Willy Römer/Willy Römer

Unique and extensive holdings form the basis for the work of the five institutions of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation). These are supplemented continually and systematically by acquisitions. Making new purchases is a regular aspect of the libraries' work, in particular. 

In many cases, the Foundation's institutions have to rely on assistance from patrons and sponsors to enlarge the existing holdings. The SPK owes many new additions to the generosity of private collectors, as well as to the committed support of the various associations of friends. Thanks to donations and indefinite (so-called "permanent") loans, members of the public enjoy access to cultural artifacts that could not be purchased from state funds. Gifts and purchases from private collectors have long enriched the Foundation's various holdings and raised their profiles. The famous bust of Nefertiti, for example, was a gift from its distinguished patron James Simon. 

Provenance research and the protection of cultural heritage are core areas of the SPK's work. When making acquisitions and accepting donations, the Foundation always ensures that the provenance of the new additions has been clarified. This prevents objects whose ownership is not certain, or trafficked objects – especially antiquities from illegal excavations – from entering its collections. 


Acquired by the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin in 2014: Alexander von Humboldt's American Travel Diaries
© Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin–PK/Carola Seifert

New items enter the Foundation's collections in various ways. Besides federal and state government funding, assistance from private collectors is essential. The libraries make a practice of routinely and systematically acquiring new items. more

Donations and Indefinite Loans

The SPK’s budget allocation for acquisitions is modest. Thanks to donations and indefinite loans from private collectors or public institutions, the public can see masterpieces and unique objects not contained in the historical collections. more

Patrons and Collectors

James Simon (1851-1932), an important patron of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
© bpk / Zentralarchiv, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Rudolf Dührkoop
Gifts and generous support from its patrons raised the profile of the SPK's institutions in their early years. Long-standing relationships with collectors are still contributing to superb exhibitions, research work, and new museum buildings today. more