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.
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
Since 2011 Permanent collection display Cultural Contacts: Living in Europe
Since 2017 the only museum in Dahlem still open to the public