The collections of the Ethnologisches Museum (Ethnological Museum) comprise outstanding examples of material and immaterial goods that were created outside of Europe and brought to Berlin in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Divided into geographic regions and arranged in thematic displays, the presentations of the collections convey fascinating insights into the diversity of non-European cultures:
The exhibition 'Art from Africa' portrays developments in African art history, illustrating the religious and social significance of sculptures and everyday objects, while 'Africa in Berlin' takes a closer look at the manifold relations between Africa and Europe.
Archaeological artefacts featured in the exhibition 'American Archaeology' – ranging from painted pottery to stone figures of gods and exquisite gold objects – date from as far back as 2000 BCE and demonstrate the rich cultural heritage of pre-Spanish cultures in Central and South America.
A particular attraction is the presentation of the South Seas collection. True-to-scale exhibits of boats and spectacular houses typical of Oceania recreate the atmosphere of the Pacific islands. The vivid colour and variety of artistic expression is revealed through the exhibition of objects and artworks, ranging from ceramic vessels to photographs.
The exhibition “Myth of the Golden Triangle” shines a spotlight on ethnic minorities in Southeast-Asia.
Since 2011, the exhibition 'Islamic Worlds' presents different perspectives of the Muslim experience throughout history in the context of tradition, religion and modernity.
As the largest partner involved in the Humboldt-Forum, the Ethnologisches Museum will move its collections to Schlossplatz in the centre of Berlin in the near future with plans to reorganise and introduce new concepts to the presentation of the museum’s holdings.
The JuniorMuseum is affiliated to the Ethnologisches Museum and introduces children between the ages of four and eight to non-European products, ways of thinking and customs. The current exhibition 'That's What We Eat – We Eat Rice' focuses on this staple of Southeast Asia.
As a product of European appropriation and colonisation of the world, ethnological museums in Europe traditionally reflected an attitude that set Europeans apart from the perceived 'exotic other'. The Ethnologisches Museum at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin critically investigates the legacy and ramifications of colonialism, as well as the role and standpoint of Europe. Partnerships with the 'source communities' in Africa, Asia, Oceania and America aim to open up the one-sided, Eurocentric approach and allow reflection on one’s own position without, however, refuting the European context.
The Ethnologisches Museum is committed to the traditional tasks of a museum – collection, preservation, research and communication – but also builds on these by focussing on new aspects. Questions related to cultural heritage and responsibilities, issues regarding privilege of interpretation and communication (multiple perspectives, changes of perspective and multiple voices) as well as participatory approaches to curating, research and education are further priorities of the museum. The Ethnologisches Museum continues to expand its collections with contemporary art and ethnographic objects as well as alternative sources such as digital media.
In line with the Ethnologisches Museum’s education policy, the museum sees itself as a centre for life-long learning and believes that its exceptional collections can facilitate both cognitive and sensory experiences. Our goal is to awaken interest in interaction with other cultures and intercultural dialogue to foster a global understanding that goes far beyond the Eurocentric viewpoint.
Lansstraße 8 / Arnimallee 25
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 83 01 273
Fax: +49 (0)30 / 83 01 261
Director: Prof. Dr. Viola König
Deputy Director: Dr. Richard Haas
Café and restaurant 'eßkultur' at the Museen Dahlem
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 8301433
Bookshop Walther König
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 83203581