The Museum für Islamische Kunst (Museum of Islamic Art) of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin has published its online portal “Islamic·Art”. It is the first digital platform in the German-speaking world that presents Islamic cultures in a technically sound, innovative and entertaining manner. The online portal is now available free of charge in German, English and Arabic.
The new portal islamic-art.smb.museum works with four modules: Stories, 360° tours, Media Library and Digital Learning.
Stories lead through the thematic worlds of the collection of the Museum für Islamische Kunst, provide multimedia access to the objects and provide exciting insights into the work in the museum. Through cross-collection links, the stories invite you to explore related objects, themes and stories. They show that art and cultural history can only be conceived and narrated in the context of diversity, change, migration, exchange and mobility. Users decide themselves according to individual interest which path they follow and can thus influence the experience themselves. At the start of the platform, the three special exhibitions Gurbet Şarkıları. Songs from a Foreign Land. Music and Relationship between Turkey and Germany (1961-2021), and In:complete. Destroyed – Divided – Supplemented are launched; more stories are continuously being published.
360° tours make themes of the museum in generic rooms virtually tangible. Users get an exploratory access to the objects of the collection. A first highlight is the music tour, which consists of different formats. For example, the "Mshatta Lounge" will be presented, a concert series that was presented live in the Mshatta Hall in 2019. The participating musicians have each selected an object from the exhibition and interpreted it in their musical language. A 360° tour on the theme of garden paradises and insights into the transformation of the permanent exhibition of the museum will follow later this year.
Through the media library, users gain access to films, music videos, images, audio files and e-publications that give insights into the museum’s history and the restoration of objects as well as inform about the history and cultural heritage of Islamic cultural spaces.
The area of digital learning brings Islamic art and cultural history directly into the classroom. The materials from the project "Common Past – Common Future II" funded by the Bundesbeauftragten für Kultur und Medien (Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media) are based on the curricula and can thus be used in the regular school lessons of many subjects (including art, music, ethics/religion, politics) and class levels. In the "Background Information" section, educators and educational media editors will find lecture videos, handouts and checklists with specialist expertise, for example on dealing with pictorial representations in Islamic contexts. In addition, materials from the educational project "TAMAM" are provided. In this project mosques developed together with the Museum für Islamische Kunst materials for extracurricular education and youth work from 2015 to 2018.
We would like to thank our partners at Alwaleed Philanthropies Global, with whose generous support we were able to realise this project in the first place.
Stefan Weber, Director of the Museums für Islamische Kunst