Extensive Presentation of Museum Island Berlin on Google Arts & Culture

11.09.2018
Museumsinsel Berlin

The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and Google Arts & Culture are expanding their collaboration with a new extensive presentation about Museumsinsel Berlin (Museum Island Berlin). All five Museum Island museums now offerwide-ranging access on the newly created topic page, g.co/museumislandberlin, and via the free Google Arts & Culture app for Android and iOS. The presentation continues a cooperation begun in 2011 that has been successively expanded over the past few years.

The goal of the topic pages in German and English is to make the collections and highlights of the Altes Museum, the Neues Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie, Pergamon Museum, and the Bode Museum accessible to an even broader public. The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin view the expanded presence of these museums on Google Arts & Culture as its contribution to global communication about the riches of art and culture and as an invitation to visitors to draw inspiration from more than 6000 years of human history.

Contents of the Topic Page

  • Approx. 4,000 Objects (images with object information):
    • 421 objects from the Altes Museum
    • 675 objects from the Neues Museum
    • 608 objects from the Alte Nationalgalerie
    • 1,583 objects from the Pergamon Museum
    • 711 objects from the Bode Museum
  • 5 Gigapixels (ultra-high resolution images of works of art):
    • the Centaur mosaic from the Villa Hadriana at the Altes Museum
    • the Book of the Deadof Neferini (hieratic) at the Neues Museum
    • Édouard Manet’s In theConservatory at the Altes Museum
    • the Striding Lion from the Babylonian Processional Way at the Pergamon Museum
    • TheAnnunciation to Mary at the Bode Museum
  • 21 Online Exhibitions on various topics, the collections, architecture and museum activities
  • 37 Short Narratives including 25 features aimed at a young public who use social media
  • 4 Virtual Reality Tours of the domed halls on Museum Island, “Babylon in Berlin”, the Pergamon Altar at the
  • Pergamon Museum, and the exhibition spaces at the Neues Museum, which reopened in 2009
  • 5 Virtual Tours through the individual museums using Street View technology
  • 4 Expeditions: Virtual reality tours for schools

Together with the Gemäldegalerie (Old Master Paintings), the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts), the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings), the Museum Europäischer Kulturen (Museum of European Cultures) and the Kunstbibliothek (Art Library), which are already presented on Google Arts & Culture, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin is now represented on the online platform with a total of 10 museums, some 5,000 objects, 40 exhibitions, 37 short narratives, 5 virtual reality tours, 6 expeditions, and 8 works of art shown in a Gigapixel format, as well as Street Views of all the museums with permanent exhibitions.

The Entire Spectrum of Museum Island Berlin

In keeping with the richness of the collections on Museum Island Berlin, the spectrum of the new topic page is very diverse. The focus is on collection highlights, which show quite impressively how technology can offer alternative ways to experience art:

  • A feature on the Nefertiti Bust from the collection of the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung (Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection) presents Nefertiti as an influential Egyptian ruler
    An exhibition about the Berlin Gold Hat in the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte (Museum of Prehistory and Early History) collection presents a 3D scan of the object, explaining the artefact within the context of the work’s period of origin
  • The Pergamon Altar, currently under a scaffold because of renovations at the Pergamon Museum, is the subject of three simultaneous exhibitions. A virtual reality tour through the altar hall introduces the battle between gods and giants
  • The Pergamon Museum’s Ishtar Gate and Processional Way are presented in a virtual reality tour in combination with a three-dimensional model of the excavation site in Babylon. The 3D model brings together for the first time the visions of the German architects and archaeologists, Robert Koldewey and Walter Andrae, with those of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II. A panoramic view gives viewers a glimpse of the former splendour of this majestic architectural ensemble
  • A Gigapixel of ÉdouardManet’sIn theConservatory at the Alte Nationalgalerie makes it possible to study the finest details of the world-famous Impressionist’s brushstrokes and to perceive subtleties that remain indiscernible when viewing the original
    Another exhibition follows the elaborate restoration of Caspar David Friedrich’sMönch am Meer(The Monk by the Sea) at the Alte Nationalgalerie
  • A further virtual reality tour invites visitors to visit the magnificent domed halls of all five buildings at the UNESCO world heritage site

The features are supplemented by introductions to the museum’s architecture and collections along with exhibitions on selected topics such as “The Cult of the Dead in Ancient Egypt” and “Faces – Heroes, Gods, andRulers” at the Altes Museum.

Features presenting work carried out in a museum offer a look behind the scenes, including subjects ranging from an introduction to the Gipformerei (Replica Workshop) to work done by conservators, by museum guides working in “MULTAKA: The Museum as Meeting Place – Refugees as Guides in Berlin Museums”, and on the research project “ILLICIT”, being undertaken by the Vorderasiatisches Museum (Museum of the Ancient Near East) to investigate the illegal trade in cultural assets in Germany.

The 37 short narratives have been created to appeal to a young public. Entertainly told, they take up topical subjects, such as wanderlust, body image, vanity and women’s roles. These topics can be discussed in the social media channels in reference to personalities and stories from past epochs.

The expeditions, accessible with a special Google app, are aimed at schools and other educational institutions. In a virtual reality format they guide students and teachers to the museums’ masterworks and impressive domed halls while providing background information for a unique educational experience.

The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and Google Arts & Culture

The extensive presentation of Museum Island Berlin on Google Arts & Culture represents the preliminary result of a long-term collaboration. The Gemäldegalerie and the Alte Nationalgalerie were among the first 17 museums from 9 countries worldwide represented as early as 2011, when the platform was initiated under the name Google Art Project. Additional museums from the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin followed, as did the participation in trans-institutional, national and international presentations:

  • 2016: Unseen Masterpieceson Pieter Brueghel the Elder together with seven other museums.
  • 2017: Virtual tour and three online exhibitions related to the show Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art presenting masterworks from the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen Munich.
  • 2017: “We Wear Culture”– a worldwide collaboration on the subject of fashion involving more than 180 cultural institutions that presented some 400 online exhibitions. The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin were represented with eight exhibitions by the Kunstgewerbemuseum and one exhibition each by the Kunstbibliothek and the Museum Europäischer Kulturen. It was in this context that the presentations of the respective museums were activated, with the Kunstgewerbemuseum offering a Street View tour.
  • 2018: The Kupferstichkabinett and the Museum Europäischer Kulturen expand their presence on Google Arts & Culture with additional exhibitions and objects.