Please note the changed opening hours of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin since 16 April 2024. More

How Islamic art came to Berlin
The Museum director and collector Friedrich Sarre

23.10.2015 to 24.01.2016

This year the Berlin Museum für Islamische Kunst (Museum for Islamic Art) is celebrating the 150th birthday of Friedrich Sarre (1865-1945), the first director of the museum and one of the most important founding fathers of the field. Reason enough to celebrate. Sarre's expeditions to the Middle East and Central Asia played a pivotal role in the formation of the field, far beyond Germany's political borders. Berlin owes to Sarre the first dedicated “Museum of Islamic Art" outside the Islamic world. His major acquisitions such as the famous Aleppo room and the bequest of his own collection form the core of the museum holdings until today and are responsible for the museum's world wide reputation.

Why Berlin? This exhibition tells the remarkable story of an outstanding scholar within the context of a fascinating period of economic and cultural ambition in Germany. Sarre belonged to the inner circle of those who not only had political and economic relationships with the Middle East, but were also interested in collecting Oriental art. The exhibition focuses on Sarre as a museum expert and collector in the context of his time, with special emphasis on Sarre's social background and his far-reaching network. Exhibits include his historical travel photographs as well as a choice of his most important acquisitions and donations, including  his collection of Islamic paintings and calligraphy, which Sarre had kept for himself and which remained in the possession of his family until recently.

James-Simon-Galerie, Bodestraße
10178 Berlin

partially wheelchair accessible
Please note: Pergamonmuseum is exclusively entered through James-Simon-Galerie!
Site plan: Entrance to the Pergamonmuseum and Neues Museum (PDF)

All groups meet at the information desk at the upper foyer in James-Simon-Galerie, entering by using the big stairway.
Advice for group visits to the Pergamonmuseum an the Neues Museum (PDF)

Due to a technical issue, the lift is out of service until further notice, meaning the Museum für Islamische Kunst is not currently wheelchair accessible. The major architectural exhibits – such as the Processional Way, featuring the Ishtar Gate and the Market Gate of Miletus – are still accessible to people with mobility issues. 


U-Bahn: Museumsinsel (U5)
S-Bahn: Friedrichstraße, Hackescher Markt
Tram: Am Kupfergraben, Hackescher Markt
Bus: Staatsoper, Lustgarten, Friedrichstraße

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Pergamon Museum
10,00 EUR Concessions 5,00
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Museum Island + Panorama
19,00 EUR Concessions 9,50
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