The Best Museums to Visit in Berlin for International Museum Day

Natural History Museum in Berlin | © Sergey Galyonkin/Flickr
Natural History Museum in Berlin | © Sergey Galyonkin/Flickr
Photo of Alice Dundon
16 May 2018

Every May since 1977 museums across the globe have opened their doors with a free or curated program to celebrate International Museum Day. In Berlin, museums open their doors, offering events, guided tours, workshops and talks, inviting visitors to uncover the diverse collections and hidden gems dotted across the city. Here are the best museums to visit during International Museum Day.

Dalí Collection

Museum, Art Gallery
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Salvador Dali still at Dali Museum in Berlin | © of DaliBerlin
Dalí Berlin is a skillfully curated look into Salvador Dalí‘s work. Holding the title of Germany’s first Dali museum, the extensive collection is the result of the efforts of initiator and curator, Carsten Kollmeier, along with private collectors from across the globe. With more than 450 pieces the exhibition includes graphic works, workbooks, illustrated books, sculptures, coins, films and three-dimensional installations created by the great artist. The museum offers a special guided tour on International Museum Day, promising an explosion of colour, surrealism and signature Dalí style.

Topography of Terror

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The Topography of Terror Museum was once the most feared address in Berlin
The Topography of Terror was once the most feared address in Berlin | © 2ebill / Alamy Stock Photo
The Topography of Terror offers indoor and outdoor exhibitions which delve into the dark past of the Third Reich. One of the most frequently visited remembrance spots in Berlin, Topography of Terror is an important cultural institution in the city. The history museum’s indoor exhibtion looks at central institutions during Nazi Germany and the crimes they committed throughout Europe, whereas the outdoor exhibition explores the country’s path into dictatorship. Both exhibitions, along with a third specially curated exhibition for International Museum Day can be experienced with a guided tour on the day.

Museum für Naturkunde

Building, Museum
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Museum of Natural History, Berlin
The Museum of Natural History contains over 30 million items | © Bildagentur-online / Schoening / Alamy Stock Photo
If animals, dinosaurs and meteorites are your thing, then Berlin’s Museum of Natural History is the place for you. Taking visitors on a comprehensive and insightful journey through science and nature, you can uncover the secrets of the universe, marvel at minerals and be wowed by an enormous reconstructed T-Rex, free of charge during International Museum Day.

Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Building, Museum
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The Haus der Kulturen der Welt is Germany’s national hub for contemporary arts
The Haus der Kulturen der Welt is Germany’s national hub for contemporary arts | © Claudio Divizia / Shutterstock
Haus der Kulturen der Welt is Germany’s national centre for contemporary arts and world culture. The diverse art and culture hub holds regular events, exhibitions, performances, and symposiums. Located in West Berlin at Tiergarten, the space was built in 1957 to the designs of Hugh Stubbins, and later served as the site of John F. Kennedy’s famous speech in 1963. During Museum Day visitors can head here for a lecture and special exhibition.

Werkbundarchiv - Museum of Things

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DDR Products from the Museum of Things | © Sampo Hämäläinen/ Flickr

The Museum of Things chronicles products of the 20th and 21st centuries and aims to constantly renew our perception of the history of things. Exploring these products under the lens of a culture marked by mass production and industrial manufacturing, the museum offers ever-evolving exhibitions. The museum primarily explores the legacy of Werkbund, a German association of artists, architects, designers, and industrialists, established in 1907. The expansive and thought-provoking exhibition is free on Museum Day.

Tränenpalast - Palace of Tears

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Tränenpalast Museum near Friedrichstrasse | © Per-Olof Forsberg/ Flickr

After the construction of the Berlin Wall, East Germany opened a check-in hall at Friedrichstraße station. It was used to process passengers crossing from East to West Berlin, giving the glass and steel pavilion the nickname Tränenpalast, or palace of tears in English. Today, a permanent exhibition entitled ‘Border Experiences: Daily Life Everyday Division of Germany,’ is housed in the historically protected building. International Museum Day visitors can enjoy the exhibition with a free guided tour, exploring the mix of original documents, films and interviews used to portray the effects a divided Germany had on its citizens’ daily lives.

Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen

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A couple enjoys the exhibition at Berlin Film and Television Museum | © Schlaier /WikiCommons

Centrally located in the Sony Centre at Potsdamer Platz, the Film and Television Museum and German Film Archive is a journey through cinema’s pioneering years. A fully immersive and multimedia experience in German film and television history – the permanent exhibition provides a step-by-step guide across the milestones of cinematic eras. Spanning over 13 halls, the museum houses film scripts, costumes, props, film clips that depict the historical and technological developments throughout the years. A must-try for cinephiles in the city, during museum day they can experience this expansive collection for free.

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