History of the Museum Europäischer Kulturen

In 1999 the European collection of the Museum für Völkerkunde (today the Ethnologisches Museum) merged with the Museum of (German) Folklore from East and West Berlin to form the Museum Europäischer Kulturen. The establishment of a new museum also brought about a new focus on modern, cultural-anthropological, and comparative work within European collections and research.

The museum has experienced an eventful 150 years that attest to sweeping historical, scientific, and political change.

Overview of the institution’s history:

1873 The Museum für Völkerkunde is founded

1886 The Museum für Völkerkunde opens, its collection centres on non-European cultural artefacts, with a limited European ethnographic collection

1889 The Museum für deutsche Volkstrachten und Erzeugnisse des Hausgewerbes (Museum for German Traditional Costumes and Domestic Products) is privately founded in Berlin by Rudolf Virchow as the first central museum for folklore in Germany

1904 The Collection of German Folklore is integrated into the Royal Prussian Museums, under the auspices of the ‘prehistoric department’ of the Museum für Völkerkunde

1935  An independent Eurasian department is founded within the Museum für Völkerkunde

1935 The Collection of German Folklore becomes the independent Staatliches Museum für Deutsche Volkskunde, located in Schloss Bellevue

1939-45 Approximately eighty percent of the German folklore collections are destroyed

nach 1949  The Museum für Deutsche Volkskunde is divided: One part goes to the Museum für Volkskunst (later Volkskunde) on the Museumsinsel Berlin in the Eastern part of the city, while in the West the remaining folklore collection is placed under the auspices of the European department (1950) of the Museum für Völkerkunde

1963 The Western folklore collection again becomes an independent museum, the Museum für Deutsche Volkskunde. Its collection is displayed in Berlin-Dahlem at the Geheimes Staatsarchiv (1976-1995)

1992 The two folklore museums are reunited in the Museum für Volkskunde

1999 The European collection of the Museum für Völkerkunde (today the Ethnologisches Museum) merges with the Museum für (Deutsche) Volkskunde (Museum of [German] Folklore) to form the Museum Europäischer Kulturen

Seit 2005 Exhibitions at the Dahlem Museums as well as the Ethnologisches Museum (Ethnological Museum) and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Asian Art Museum)