200th Anniversary of the Gipsformerei: Open House on 8 December 2019

Gipsformerei - Kunstmanufaktur seit 1819

On 8 December 1819, the Gipsformerei (Replica Workshop) of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin was founded by Frederick William III as the “Königlich Preußische Gipsabgussanstalt” (Royal Prussian Institute of Plaster Casting). To commemorate the occasion on the same day 200 years later, the Gipsformerei invites the public to an open house on their premises in Charlottenburg on Sunday, 8 December 2019. Visitors can look forward to free tours through the workshops and storage areas, as well as practice-based presentations in the world’s largest operational museum manufactory.

The Gipsformerei – Oldest Institution of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

King Frederick William III founded the Gipsformerei in 1819 as the “Königlich Preußische Gipsabgussanstalt”. It has been part of the royal museums since 1830, now the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, and is thus among its oldest institutions. As the world’s largest manufactory of its kind still in operation, the Gipsformerei boasts a collection comprising several thousand moulds, master models, and painting models. It has been producing high-quality replicas of works of art from local, national and international museums for 200 years. The collection, representing all epochs and world cultures, encompasses more than 7000 plaster casts of original artworks that can be replicated on request. In addition to many works by unknown masters, the inventory includes moulds and casts of pieces by more than 400 prominent artists from ancient until modern times.

Open House Day

The Open House on 8 December 2019, from 11 am to 4 pm, provides visitors with exciting insights into the multifaceted workday at the Gipsformerei:

  • Every half hour staff members offer tours of the storage areas, as well as other tours presenting selected objects such as the pediment of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia.
  • Presentations demonstrate the production of museum replicas using different types of moulds – from historical gelatine and piece moulds to modern silicone ones. All stages of production are touched upon: from making moulds and fine retouching to the chromatic painting of sculptures. Scans and 3D printers allow new casts to be created of sensitive objects with no contact with the originals. These processes are explained with the help of examples in the Replica Workshop.
  • Visitors can also learn about the restoration of war-damaged cultural assets.
  • Children’s activities as well as drinks and snacks, enhance offers geared to the entire family.

Location: Gipsformerei, Sophie-Charlotten-Straße 17/18, 14059 Berlin-Charlottenburg

Free admission, no registration required; some waiting should be expected due to a limited number of places in the workshop at any one time.