Ethnologisches Museum Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Germany

Ethnologisches Museum Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Exterior Ethnologisches Museum Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Interior

As a product of European appropriation and colonisation of the world, ethnological museums in Europe traditionally reflected an attitude that set Europeans apart from the perceived ‘exotic other’. The Ethnologisches Museum at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin critically investigates the legacy and ramifications of colonialism, as well as the role and standpoint of Europe. Partnerships with the ‘source communities’ in Africa, Asia, Oceania and America aim to open up the one-sided, Eurocentric approach and allow reflection on one’s own position without, however, refuting the European context.

The Ethnologisches Museum is committed to the traditional tasks of a museum – collection, preservation, research and communication – but also builds on these by focusing on new aspects. Questions related to cultural heritage and responsibilities, issues regarding privilege of interpretation and communication (multiple perspectives, changes of perspective and multiple voices) as well as participatory approaches to curating, research and education are further priorities of the museum. The Ethnologisches Museum continues to expand its collections with contemporary art and ethnographic objects as well as alternative sources such as digital media.

In line with the Ethnologisches Museum’s education policy, the museum sees itself as a centre for life-long learning and believes that its exceptional collections can facilitate both cognitive and sensory experiences. Its goal is to awaken interest in interaction with other cultures and intercultural dialogue to foster a global understanding that goes far beyond the Eurocentric viewpoint.

Permanent collections: The exhibition ‘Art from Africa’ portrays developments in African art history, illustrating the religious and social significance of sculptures and everyday objects, while ‘Africa in Berlin’ takes a closer look at the manifold relations between Africa and Europe.

Archaeological artefacts featured in the exhibition ‘American Archaeology’ – ranging from painted pottery to stone figures of gods and exquisite gold objects – date from as far back as 2000 BCE and demonstrate the rich cultural heritage of pre-Spanish cultures in Central and South America.

The exhibition “Myth of the Golden Triangle” shines a spotlight on ethnic minorities in Southeast-Asia.

Since 2011, the exhibition ‘Islamic Worlds’ presents different perspectives of the Muslim experience throughout history in the context of tradition, religion and modernity.

As the largest partner involved in the Humboldt-Forum, the Ethnologisches Museum will move its collections to Schlossplatz in the centre of Berlin in the near future with plans to reorganise and introduce new concepts to the presentation of the museum’s holdings. In this context, please note that the South Seas collection and the collection on the ethnology of North America (Indians/Native Americans) as well as the Junior Museum will be closed from 11 January 2016. Other sections will follow due to the Museum’s relocation plans.

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