Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

The Mauermuseum was one of the highlights of our trip to Berlin last year. “The Wall” is such a huge part of the consciousness of Berliners and indeed many others such as Monsieur and myself who grew up with the concept of the “Iron Curtain”. The iconic museum just by Checkpoint Charlie does a fabulous job of putting this grim period of history into historical context and is well worth the entry price.

 

 

 

The museum’s founder, Rainer Hildebrandt, was a fervent campaigner against the Soviet occupation (here is part of his obituary).

Rather than going into a lengthy dissertation on all the background, here is the mission statement from the museum’s website:

Our museum was founded shortly after the construction of the Berlin Wall(August 13th 1961), on October 19th, 1962. The founder of our museum, Dr. Rainer Hildebrandt, believed that it was vital in the non-violent struggle for human rights „to be as close as possible to the injustice itself, where human greatness fully unfolds“. He came to Checkpoint Charlie to express his protest against the Wall and to provide assistance to the persons seeking help. Gradually the museum increased its exhibition space and contributed to the fall of the Wall. The museum had a vital role in history.

 

It is sobering to think how close the museum was to the border of the two zones. Today the streets are bustling with locals and tourists going about their business. Back in the day the view would have been very different – grim border posts and armed soldiers (rather than the actors who recreate the roles for today’s audience).

 

Mauermuseum Berlin

View From Window – Mauermuseum Berlin

 

 

The museum isn’t pretty like many others with classical antiquities and beautiful works of art, so although I took quite a few photos they are atmospheric rather than attractive! There is a huge range of memorabilia including chunks of the now torn down wall and plenty of interactive displays. Large sections are also devoted to displays on various human rights struggles around the globe.

It is a lot to take in and quite draining at times but fascinating stuff. Three hours was about my limit – some of the escape attempts from east to west were harrowing and my brain just couldn’t take in any more information! However we would definitely go back again – we still have the third floor of the museum to cover!

A lengthy browse in the well-stocked gift shop and debates about how many more books we could fit into our luggage revived our spirits! On the way home we had a pleasant detour through the old Nikolaiviertel and late afternoon drinks by the Spree restored our energies.

The Mauermuseum is compelling stuff but like many museums can be quite a tiring experience especially if like us you try and read absolutely everything. We found interspersing “heavy” museums with lighter activities for the rest of the day was the way to cope with information overload and the darker chapters of Berlin’s past.

Other museums I can highly recommend in no particular order are the Deutsches Historisches Museum (permanent displays and seasonal exhibitions), The Story Of Berlin (800 years of the capital’s history and a tour of the nuclear bunker under Kurfuerstendamm), and the quirkily kitsch DDR Museum (another one with fantastic interactive displays including one of the infamous Trabi car). There are so many others and we have yet to visit all of them – saving those for future visits!

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Copyright © 2017 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

18 thoughts on “Mauermuseum – Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie

  1. Very interesting. We didn’t visit this museum though we did walk around Checkpoint Charlie and followed the wall markers on a certain distance and obviously went to see the East Side Section with all of the street art. (Suzanne)

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    1. Thanks Suzanne! Yes we only visited the museum on our 2nd visit to Berlin. We did the same as you the first time round – the street art is a great display and you get a real feel for the history of the area from it too. I don’t think you could do the museum in less than 2 to 3 hours and even then wouldn’t be able to see everything but it is a fascinating place if you ever get the chance to go there!

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  2. joanfrankham says:

    I hope to visit Berlin some day, there is so much history to see there. Great to get a glimpse of it here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Berlin is a fascinating place Joan – this is just a small selection of what’s on offer. It’s a very easy place to get around – the public transport is wonderful and it’s not a particularly big city either. The history is everywhere and yet it is a very modern place too – love Berlin! 🙂

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  3. All of the museums sound incredible Rosemary but I would really love to visit the one by Checkpoint Charlie. I have always been fascinated by the Berlin Wall too so really enjoyed this post. I love the pictures too!! We always read everything as well, I know what you mean about information overload but it sounds like the sort of place it would be great to revisit as well.

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    1. Thanks Joy – am really glad you enjoyed the post as sometimes it can be difficult to convey a “heavy” subject like this in an accessible way! The Mauermuseum would definitely be on my list to revisit – we only covered about 2/3 of it and also I don’t think you can take everything in at one go. Glad we’re not the only ones who read everything – some people prefer to quickly glance at the exhibits and move on and must have though we were being so slow! The street exhibitions are really good too if you don’t have the time or inclination to do the full museum tour. I think you’d find so much to see and do in Berlin so hope you get there one day! Our daughter is there this weekend for work – lucky girl!

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  4. Anabel Marsh says:

    We didn’t visit this either (only so much you can take) but felt similarly drained after visiting The House of Terror in Budapest. Awful to think what people can do to each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Monsieur did the House Of Terror in Budapest whilst I went round the Art Gallery up at Buda Castle. We couldn’t do both and I really wanted to see the art works. From what he said it was really harrowing – just appalling the sort of things that can happen so inhumane 😦 Quite agree – there is only so much you can take and we balanced the heavy stuff with more relaxing activities too 🙂

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  5. I will put this on my list of things to do when I finally get to visit Berlin!

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    1. Yes I think this is one of my top Berlin picks out of many. The Reichstag tour was also well worth it but there are so many places of interest in and around Berlin that you don’t always know where to start!

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      1. When I go I will ask you for advice.

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        1. Our daughter is currently in Berlin for work so will get some more tips from her too!

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  6. restlessjo says:

    Sometimes our history is so depressing, Rosemay. It’s good to have people like yourself who catalogue it so brilliantly. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jo! I hesitated on how to describe some of the museums and historical context in Berlin as it can be depressing at times. Berlin, however, is such a vibrant city – they don’t shy away from the tough stuff but remember and look to the future and renewal . I decided to write about the Mauermuseum as it is such an iconic part of the post war era. Having studied history at uni this stuff fascinates me – never understand how people think history is irrelevant today as it has shaped who we are!

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  7. KerryCan says:

    These “heavy” museums aren’t as much fun as ones filled with glorious art and, yet, they are so important! Thanks for the overview!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kerry yes that’s how I feel too – so important to cover these types of museums even though there are far prettier ones full of different types of treasure!

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  8. RuthsArc says:

    Berlin is such a fascinating city and these museums give a valuable insight to it’s history. History in our lifetime. We enjoyed our visits and it opened up discussions when our girls were in their teens, about the reality of some of the history they were learning in school at the time. Thanks for sharing, Rosemary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ruth – coincidentally our daughter is currently on her 3rd trip to Berlin as I write this! She certainly appreciates the importance of studying history as does our other daughter. Visiting places such as Berlin really opens up your perspective – it really is such a fascinating place!

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