The Berlin Museum in the Kreuzberg district has been housed since 1969 in the old Supreme Court (Kammergericht) building, designed by the Berlin architect Philipp Gerlach in 1734-35 during the reign of Frederick William I, to accommodate the judicial and administrative authorities which, until the end of the 16th century, had been housed in the Royal Palace.
Lindenstrasse 14, D-10969 Berlin, Germany
10am-10pm; Closed: Mon
The gable-end is decorated with the Prussian National Coat of Arms, surmounted by the figures of Justitia (Justice) and Veritas (Truth).
The collection illustrates the history and culture of Berlin since the mid 17th century. Notable exhibits are pictures of Berlin, portraits, genre painting and prints of views, including "View of Nollendorfplatz" by Max Beckmann, 1911; "Kaiserpanorama" with stereoscopic photos of old Berlin, works by Wilhelm Schadow, Theodor Hosemann and Adolph von Menzel, Berlin crafts and domestic décor, toys, fashion, works by the "Berlin Secession" group and drawings and graphics by the Berlin milieu artist Heinrich Zille.
Interesting exhibits from Berlin's more recent and immediate past include election posters from the Weimar Republic, items from the Third Reich (including models and designs of Hitler's plans to convert the city into the capital "Germania") and from the DDR two models made for Erich Honecker for use in Berlin and along the border between East and West Germany and on which lamps lit up the path taken by refugees and the border police who were giving chase (upper floor). The Hall of the History of the Jewish Population of Berlin is also of considerable interest. In the nineties there are plans to combine with the Märkisches Museum and to build an extension, mainly to house the Jewish Museum which is at present in the Gropius Bau (Gropius Building). A draft design has been prepared by the architect Daniel Libeskind (model on ground floor) and the foundation stone of the extension was laid in November 1992.
It has recently been reported that art treasures from the Berlin Museum, including paintings by Velasquez, Cézanne and Renoir, together with gold jewelry brought back from the ruins of Troy by Heinrich Schliemann, all of which were to have been believed destroyed in the Second World War, were, in fact, taken to the Soviet Union which has now decided to return these treasures to Germany.