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Behind the scenes ... the inner workings of a museum: Renate Sander - Graphic and Design, Ethnological Museum

30.03.2012
Museum Europäischer Kulturen

Over 4.5 million people visited the museums and galleries of the National Museums in Berlin last year. Spectacular special exhibitions, small presentations and the museums' permanent collections offered an array of cultural highlights that everyone could enjoy: whether expert, schoolchild or tourist, every trip to the museum is a personal experience that leaves behind lasting impressions and new insights.

But who are the people who work for the National Museums in Berlin? What jobs and professions are required to keep such a large operation like the Berlin Museums with its 19 museums, 4 institutes and 4,729,856 artworks running smoothly? All of the people presented here contribute to the success and the existence of this universal museum that collects, preserves and studies art and culture from the beginning of time to the present day. They all work behind the scenes and only rarely meet our visitors on site. We want to lift the curtain a little and offer a glimpse backstage at the inner workings of a museum.

Renate Sander - Graphic and Design, Ethnological Museum

What does your typical workday consist of?
Before every new exhibition things pile up on my desk - plans, drawings, designs, a series of colour charts. This is where my ideas for the design of the exhibition come to life - from the architecture to the colour concept and typography to the selection of motifs with which the exhibition will be marketed. When the presentation is more or less complete, the designs for invitations, flyers and posters are next in line. I always have to keep an eye on the budget too. The greater leeway we have there, the more we can invest in advertising and that benefits all exhibitions and makes the curators happy.

Has there been one particularly memorable event in the course of your career?
After more than 26 years, there have been many events that I like to look back on but one that stands out is an exhibition in 1995. We had put together an impressive show of art by the Asmat (an ethnic group in New Guinea) in the hall for special exhibitions. The chief editor of Geo magazine was so impressed by the exhibition that he wanted to present it at the 20-year anniversary of the publishing house Gruner + Jahr - and he got it! The collaboration with the curators resulted in an ongoing connection and friendship.

What do the National Museums in Berlin mean to you personally?
The National Museums in Berlin are for me a huge stage on which world cultures present themselves, move, exchange, communicate and create knowledge and I think it is fantastic that I can make a small contribution to all that.