The history of the Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Asian Art Museum) can be traced back to the Brandenburgische Kunstkammer, the inventory of which already listed a few objects from today’s collection. The Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst was then founded in 1906, and was the first of its kind in Germany. In 1963 the Museum für Indische Kunst was established.
It emerged out of the Indian department of the Museum für Völkerkunde, today Ethnologisches Museum, which was founded in 1873. In December 2006, both collections were united to form the Museum für Asiatische Kunst. The unification of both museums was principally the result of Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation’s long-term plans to relocate its non-European collections from their current site in Dahlem to the Schlossplatz in Berlin-Mitte where they will be presented in the innovative framework of the Humboldt Forum. Together with the collections of occidental cultural artefacts on the Museumsinsel Berlin, the plans envisage the creation of a landscape of scholarship and learning of world renown and with a truly global reach.
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. As of 23 September 2021, the Humboldt Forum will host permanent exhibitions from a range of partner institutions, including the collection display of the Museum für Asiatische Kunst.