#ClosedButOpen: Easter at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin


The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin continues to expand its digital content over the Easter holidays. Among the offers available online, which include the Raphael catalogue, Raffael in Berlin, and a podcast with artist Walter Dahn, is the special exhibition Trade:Mark – The Stankowski + Duschek Graphic Design Studio at the Kunstbibliothek (Art Library) that can now be experienced as a 360° virtual tour. In the new YouTube series Allein im Museum (Alone at the Museum), directors walk visitors through the highlights and universal pieces in their collections, while providing insights into their own favourite objects.

“Whether graphic design, Italian Renaissance, Neue Wilde or numismatics – all 15 collections and 19 venues of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin are now represented online with individual offers appealing to both specialists and a wide audience,” stated Christina Haak. She is deputy general director of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and also responsible for the digital strategies of Europe’s largest association of museums.

“The current necessary closure of our museums is extremely distressing for all of us. But it also offers us the chance to continue our work in the digital arena with more focus. I would like to thank all of our staff who during this transformation have so quickly provided new online content, as well the many users, whose overwhelmingly positive response encourages us to pursue this course beyond the present closings.”

Trade:Mark – The Stankowski + Duschek Graphic Design Studio

Logos, signage, corporate identity: Components that are now part and parcel of every company’s image were still in their infancy in the mid-20th century. Pioneering in this development for decades was the graphic design studio of Stankowski + Duschek, a leading firm in the field of communication design in Germany. The special exhibition at the Kunstbibliothek presents some 300 works illustrating the studio’s output, including many famous brand names and company images, among them those of Deutsche Bank and Rewe, as well as the design layout that became the visual identity of Berlin as of 1969. The virtual 360° tour offers visitors the opportunity to move as they wish through the exhibition space and view the exhibits at close range, with accompanying texts providing background information.

Raffael in Berlin 

The 6th of April 2020 marked the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death. In honour of this master of the Italian Renaissance, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin is offering a free download of the catalogue Raffael in Berlin (only in German). The catalogue creates a dialogue between the five famous madonnas in the Gemäldegalerie and the Madonna of the Pinks from the National Gallery in London, shining a spotlight on the Berlin museum’s early acquisition policy in the context of the broader history of collecting in Europe. The publication also presents a small but significant group of drawings by Raphael’s hand from the Kupferstichkabinett collection. These works are complemented by drawings from his closest companions, as well as an extensive panorama of prints made during Raphael’s lifetime.

The Volkswagen ART4ALL Online Edition

The ART4ALL initiative, made possible by Volkswagen – a longstanding partner of the Nationalgalerie, offers free admission to Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin on the first Thursday of every month from 4 to 8 pm, as well as an interdisciplinary programme of lectures, performances and discussions with artists. During the current closure these events take place online.

Launching the series is a conversation with artist Walter Dahn, who will be featured in a special exhibition, To Whom It May Concern: Gifts of Paul Maenz, with the Ricki-Bilder (Ricki Paintings), a cycle created in collaboration with Jiří Georg Dokoupil. In the early 1980s, both painters belonged to the Mülheimer Freiheit, a community of artists in Cologne whose neo-expressive paintings created quite a stir in the art scene. In addition to his art practice, Dahn has developed a musical oeuvre, which he reflects on in a podcast with curator Sven Beckstette.

Alone at the Museum

In the new YouTube series Allein im Museum, broadcast in ca. 30-minute segments (in German with English subtitles), a museum director takes viewers on an exclusive guided tour ‒ introducing us to highlights as well as some of his or her personal favourite objects in the collections. Stefan Weber, director of the Museum für Islamische Kunst (Museum for Islamic Art), launches the series at the Pergamonmuseum, where intriguing background information about the Mshatta Façade, the Alhambra Dome and the Aleppo Room await us. Meanwhile Bernhard Weisser, director of the Münzkabinett (Numismatic Collection), guides us through a treasure trove of rare coins at the Bode-Museum.

The series continues with guided tours by Julien Chapuis, deputy director of the Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst (Sculpture Collection and Museum of Byzantine Art), Barbara Helwing, director of the Vorderasiatisches Museum (Museum of the Ancient Near East), Martin Maischberger, deputy director of the Antikensammlung (Collection of Classical Antiquities), and Matthias Wemhoff, director of the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte (Museum of Prehistory and Early History).

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Online Offers

For an overview of all the online offers of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin with links to databases, the blog, social media channels, and to a collaborative project with Google Arts & Culture, see:

The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin uses the hashtags #SMBforHome and #ClosedButOpen for its most up-to-date-communications on social media.