Forschungscampus Dahlem – The Main Players

The Forschungscampus Dahlem is an interdisciplinary project that brings together various collections and institutions from the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz:

The Ethnologisches Museum (Ethnological Museum) evolved from the collections of the royal cabinets of art and since its foundation in 1873 has become one of the largest and most significant collections of its kind worldwide.

The museum’s holdings comprise ca. 500,000 ethnographic, archaeological and historico-cultural objects from Africa, Asia, America, Australia and the South Seas. They are complemented by an ethnomusicological archive of 140,000 audio recordings, 285,000 photographs, 20,000 films and 200,000 pages of written documents. Many of its collections are among the most comprehensive and valuable in existence today.

Due to preparations for the transfer to the Humboldt Forum, the Berlin-Dahlem site of the Museum für Asiatische Kunst and the Ethnologisches Museum has been closed since 9 January 2017. From late summer 2021, the Humboldt Forum will host permanent exhibitions from a range of partner institutions, including the collection display of the Ethnologisches Museum. 

The Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut (IAI, Ibero-American Institute) is an interdisciplinary centre for academic and cultural exchange between Germany and Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal. It is home to the largest specialist library in Europe for the Ibero-American region. It is also a place of knowledge production, exchange and cultural translation. Combining an information center, a research center and a cultural center, the IAI is both a platform for cooperation and a catalyst for intercultural and transcultural dialog. The IAI was founded in 1930 and is today located in the Berlin Kulturforum complex on Potsdamer Strasse. It has been part of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) since 1962.

The Institut für Museumsforschung (Institute for Museum Research) is the research and documentation centre at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. It carries out multidisciplinary research on all aspects of museums and their collections and offers services to museums across Germany.

The scope of the institute’s work includes:

  • visitor research,
  • digitalisation,
  • long-term archiving,
  • museum management,
  • documentation,
  • new media and education.

The Kunstbibliothek is one of the largest museum libraries dedicated to all facets of art history and cultural studies. Above and beyond this, however, it also boasts valuable collections on the history of architecture, photography, graphic design, fashion, book art, and media art. Its extremely diverse vast holdings include works in a wide variety of media: first editions and historical postcards, illustrated placards and posters, fashion designs, architectural drawings and models, bequests of photograph collections, and Fluxus assemblages. Together, the library and the various museum collections it contains represent the full spectrum of source material on the history of art.

The Museum Europäischer Kulturen (MEK) is dedicated to collecting, researching, preserving, presenting, and raising awareness of artefacts of European everyday culture and human lived realities from the 18th century until today. As such, we transcend national and linguistic borders and facilitate encounters among different groups of people. Our work is characterised by the term ‘cultural contact’.

We continually seek to forge connections between our historical collection and current issues. An important aspect of this work is a close cooperation with respective interest groups, as well as facilitating an exchange with our visitors. The museum is also actively involved in international cultural projects and museum networks.

The collection at the Museum für Asiatische Kunst  (Asian Art Museum) is characterized by its tremendous variety, encompassing early archeological artefacts, expressive ritual sculptures from different Asian religions, precious examples of applied arts which bear witness to the most highly developed craftwork, as well as the rich pictorial art of Asia. The latter offers equal measures of elaborate narrative and expressive abstract representations. Individual works of contemporary art link together the traditional and the contemporary. 

Among the museum’s highlights are the Central Asian murals and sculptures, which predominantly originate from the Buddhist cave temples from the so-called Silk Road. They constitute the link between the sculptures of South and East Asia. Highlights also include the religious sculptures of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, as well as the collections of East Asian painting, Japanese woodcuts and East Asian lacquer objects.

The diverse and distinguished activities of the Rathgen-Forschungslabor (Rathgen Research Laboratory) are a credit to our staff’s unique skills and expertise. Our work has also grown out of a close cooperation with the collections and institutes of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

At the laboratory, chemists, physicists, biologists, mineralogists, geologists and conservation scientists work collaboratively on interdisciplinary projects in the field of cultural heritage research. Our overarching objective is to understand and preserve our cultural heritage as a limitless resource of knowledge. As a purely scientific institute at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Rathgen-Forschungslabor seeks to meaningfully contribute to this vision.