Prussian Cultural Heritage Board of Trustees

Strong partners support the Foundation’s work. The diverse involvement of leading businesses, which have joined together to form the Prussian Cultural Heritage Board of Trustees, goes beyond mere sponsorship and takes place in a strategic partnership.

© SPK / Polyform

The Prussian Cultural Heritage Board of Trustees, which was established in 2014, is an association of leading German businesses. The board understands itself as being in a strategic partnership, supporting the Foundation in implementing selected projects. Along with activities connected to the Humboldt Forum, the focus is on communication, cultural education and transfer and digital transformation. Further, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Board of Trustees supports the Foundation’s effort to extend its network and also makes its thematic expertise available.The following internationally active business organizations are currently members of the board: Bayer AG, Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, Daimler AG, Deutsche Bank AG, KPMG AG, Linde AG AG, SAP SE, Siemens AG, Würth-Gruppe and ZDF. The chairman of the board is Thorsten Strauß of Deutsche Bank AG; his deputy is Anne Reidt, head of the main editorial office for culture at ZDF (public television station).

The Prussian Cultural Heritage Board has replaced the Museum Island board of trustees, which supported the projects of Museum Island from 2001 to 2013. 

Strategic Support of Sustainable Projects

As a universal cultural institution, the SPK is responsible for its excellent collections, including their maintenance and research activities. This is the Board’s point of departure for its support. 

The association of leading German business organizations is interested in more than just sponsorship. Thorsten Strauß, who is Global Head of Art, Culture & Sports at Deutsche Bank AG and has been the chairman of the board since 2014, puts it like this: “The Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz is Germany’s major cultural player with unimaginable potential. The projects we support are sustainable and are intended to make the SPK as a whole more modern, efficient and experiential. Both the president and we want to make the SPK as a whole, a group consisting of museums, libraries and archives, fit for the digital age.

Access and Participation for Everyone

Whether the subject is communication media or digital transformation, in projects involving education and knowledge transfer, in outstanding special exhibits or activities around the Humboldt Forum, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Board has always been a valuable, stimulating partner for the SPK. One key focus of the support is the area of public access and participation.

The strategic partnership of several years is especially important to Thorsten Strauß: “This format has advantages for both sides. First, due to the number of partners, the financial framework is more generous than it would be for individual sponsoring, and second, a broad spectrum of projects can be included within this model. As businesses, we can connect our activity with various funding priorities that are important to us. This very diversity is a special feature of the SPK that does not exist in most other cultural institutions. Cooperation among the Board members is very dynamic, and we have fun driving our focal points forward. We think it is important that our support contributes specifically to people knowing what cultural programs are available.”

The Board as the SPK’s supportive companion in change

The Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz sees the Board above all as a partner who accompanies change. Projects such as improving the way the Gipsformerei (Replica Workshop) is marketed by creating an online shop, producing and selling the SPK magazine, or conducting provenance research via the “Tanzania–Germany. Shared Object Histories?” project have been implemented thanks to the Board’s support.

Without the Board it would not have been possible to have the architect and Pritzker Award winner Wang Shu design the fourth floor of the Humboldt Forum on Chinese court art. Another topic that is important to the Board is knowledge transfer and the use of media. 

For this reason, the Board sponsored the development of an app that is available to the public for the exhibition “Beyond Compare. Art from Africa in the Bode Museum” as a multimedia guide. The knowledge transfer project “Connections” was also financed by Board funds; it will encourage visitors to explore the diverse connections between the collections on Museum Island.