DDR Museum

The DDR Museum is an unique and specific museum and one of the most-visited museums in Berlin. Specific because of three main reasons:

1. The topic
The DDR Museum is the only museum which concentrates on everyday life in the GDR. Visitors will not only see the crimes of the State Security or the border defenses at the Berlin Wall but also the every-day life of the people in the former dictatorship. Maybe you’ve heard of Spreewald Pickles, nudism beaches and the Trabi – the rest of the life in this socialist state is unfamiliar to most of the people in the world.

2. The concept
A hands-on experience of history – the DDR Museum is not an exhibition to regard, but the visitor has to take part, to handle the exhibits and to look behind drawers and doors. For this reason we are one of the most interactive museums in the world – not the least point which nominated us for the European Museum of the Year Award 2008.

3. The institution
The DDR Museum is privately financed to one hundred percent. We don’t spend one cent of public money and achieve no aid money. We finance probably as the only museum in Germany to one hundred percent from the entrance fees of the visitor. Visitor orientation is not only a headword, but the guideline for our work. Thereby the DDR Museum has become one of the most visited museums in Berlin only one year after the opening.

German history is beeing told in a lively, interactive and hands-on fashion. The DDR Museum in Berlin (GDR – German Democratic Republic) tells the story of every-day life in a long-past state, looking “behind the wall” to understand just what it was like to live under Real Existing Socialism. Visitors are invited to make new discoveries about this now defunct state. Covering a number of topics in a playful fashion, the visitor is encouraged to reconsider established clichés. Since its extension in October 2010, the DDR Museum now provides almost double the experience, enabling the visitor to see, experience and feel the every-day reality behind the façade of the Socialist dictatorship, and find out just what the government tried to keep secret.

There is a lot for the visitor to do, with interaction as the key word: watch television in an authentic GDR living room or rummage through the drawers of an original Karat wall unit. The spice rack in the kitchen recreates the scent of thirty years ago, whilst the pressure cooker occupies the same place on the stove.

A number of installations bring the GDR to life: sitting in original GDR cinema seats to watch original news reels, replaying the 1974 West vs. East Germany Football World Cup game on the football table, or dancing the Lipsi. Striding through the “bureaucratic smokescreen,” the visitor receives a glimpse into the structures of GDR misrule. Under the watchful eyes of Marx, Engels and Lenin, the Socialist Unity Party of Germany provides the central focus of the exhibition, around which are grouped a number of themes such as the state, economy, the NPA, brother states, ideology, opposition and the Stasi. The interactive elements provide the central information regarding every topic.

Countless interactive media stations and authentic artefacts from the GDR constitute our prize-winning approach of a “hands-on approach to history.” Visitors are encouraged to engage with the interactive elements of the exhibition, opening drawers, looking behind doors and pulling levers, thereby making use of all their senses. The unique interactive elements of the exhibition demonstrate just what pressures and influences made up everyday life in Real Existing Socialism. State-of-the-art media stations and touch screens enable the visitor to understand the principles of the political system in a playful fashion. Original film material and reconstructed sound installations make history come to life.

DDR Museum
Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 1
(right on the river Spree, directly opposite the Berlin Cathedral)
10178 Berlin

Monday – Sunday: 10am – 8pm
Saturday: 10am – 10pm