Venezianische Perlenkette aus den Karpathen, Ukraine, damals Österreich-Ungarn, 19. Jh. © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum Europäischer Kulturen / Ute Franz-Scarciglia; CC NC-BY-SA
Papiertheater, Deutschland, 1890–1900 © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum Europäischer Kulturen / Ute Franz-Scarciglia; CC NC-BY-SA
Ikone aus Flussperlen, Israel, 19. Jh. Sammlung Gertrud Weinhold © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum Europäischer Kulturen / Ute Franz-Scarciglia; CC NC-BY-SA
Tracht, Olympos, Insel Karpathos, Griechenland, 1980er Jahre © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum Europäischer Kulturen / Ute Franz-Scarciglia; CC NC-BY-SA
Encompassing some 280,000 objects, our collection focuses on everyday life and popular art in Germany and other European countries from the 18th century to the present day. It is one of the largest of its kind in Europe and includes an exceptional collection of historical objects from ethnic minorities across Europe, such as the Sami and the Crimean Tatars.
The collection is organised according to material group, e.g., textiles, popular graphic art or photography, with sections dedicated to specific themes, such as ‘naive art’, childhood and youth culture, rituals and religions, etc. Our comprehensive holdings on different forms of spirituality contain objects from the three monotheistic world religions, which were predominantly acquired and published in sections by the collector Gertrud Weinhold (1899–1992) under the heading Das Evangelium in den Wohnungen der Völker: Ökumenisch-kulturvergleichende Sammlung (‘The Gospel in the homes of different peoples: An ecumenical and cultural comparison’).
A central concern of the museum is to expand our collection and research into cultures and topics of relevance to the present day. In line with our mission, we take up such topical issues as ‘Migration and Integration’, ‘Piety and Spirituality’ and ‘Cultural Memory’. We place a special emphasis on working in close cooperation and through ongoing exchange with the ethnic groups and cultures that are presented in our collections.