There are a lot, and I mean A LOT of museums in Berlin. If you are at all interested in museums, and trust me these people have a museum for everyone, I highly suggest the 3-day Museum Pass. It’s only 24 euro and quickly pays for itself. Between my five family members, we covered a lot of museum ground and here is our top 10 list!
German Historical Museum
This was the first museum my sister took us to because she said it was one of the best museums she had been to and holy cow! This museum would really require a lifetime of explore because of it all-encompassing historical information and artifacts from the German tribes to modern-day. This museum sensitively yet expertly covered events from WWII and divided Germany with the Cold War. My suggestion is to pick certain sections of history you want to explore and enjoy those fully; it’s too big to “see it all.”
The Bode Museum is one of the numerous options on Museum Island (a UNESCO Site); the Bode Museum houses medieval European sculptures and Byzantine Art spanning art from the 3rd to the 15th century. They also apparently have one of the world’s most important coin collections with over 4,000 coins out on exhibit. I absolutely love medieval art so this was totally my cup of tea, but it is impressive and gorgeous even if you do not have a particular love for this type of art.
The Pergamon Museum is also on Museum Island. This was on the top of my list because of the Ishtar Gate & the Pergamon Altar BUT the altar was under construction and closed! Even if you don’t study art history this should be top of your list for its impressiveness. The massive temples and walls they have installed here just throw you for a loop and their section on Ancient Near Eastern and Islamic art is just brilliant with rich colors and patterns.
Travel tip: Reserve a stop in line before you show up, this place is super popular!
Berlin Museum of Medical History at the Charité
So Will and I bargained on our museum-heavy days and this was one of his choices, didn’t think I was going to love it but it was soooo cool! The museum had a rotating exhibit on the science of forensics that made me feel like I stepped into an episode Bones. Their permanent exhibit focused on the history of medicine and my favorite part was the 10 “patient beds.” They had 10 mock bedside of sick patients from the 1700s until today that talked about how doctors treated them during the time. Will’s favorite part was the specimen room in which various body parts were preserved on shelves. There were some really disturbing parts here (think distorted fetuses) and I saw a girl crying. If you like science, especially medicine, this is a must see!
On the blog Hand Luggage Only: 17 Sights You Need To See On A First Time Visit To Berlin, Germany
German Museum of Technology
My parents loved this place so much they went twice to finish it! Just like the German Historical Museum, this place is HUGE and you have to pick and choose what you want to see but there is something for everyone. There are two round-houses with trains from various eras, exhibits on film, medicine, photography, sugar, trade & shipping, luggage and so much more!
Gemäldegalerie (Old Master Paintings)
I wasn’t going to go into this museum at first because I was pretty museumed-out but I met up with my parents and sister here so decided to kill some time in the exhibits. I am dying to go back and finish because this may have been one of the best Old Master collections I’ve ever seen. However, I made a beeline for the two Vermeers in the exhibit. He’s my favorite artist!
Read more: AP Art History Hunting in Germany
Another stop on the aptly-named Museum Island; this museum is called the “new” museum but ironically contains some of the oldest stuff, namely a fantastic Egyptian collection. I really wanted to Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and three daughters but most people go to see the Nefertiti bust. If you like Egyptian and Greco-Roman art, then this is a good place to start!
Read more: UNESCO: Berlin Sites
Museum of Natural History
Personally, I don’t usually love natural history museums because they contain a lot of taxidermy and that creeps me out, but there were some other great exhibits here! This museum makes it on the list for its excellent evolution exhibit (an interest of mine!). The interactive diagrams in English and German really made this museum an A+. As a bonus, they apparently won the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest dinosaur model.
Other notables accessible with the Museum Pass:
- Altes Museum (Old Museum)
- Botanical Museum
- GDR Museum
- German Cathedral
- Jewish Museum Berlin
Not surprisingly, there are a lot of art history museums here on the list but don’t let that discourage you! There is something for everyone in Berlin; there’s a Currywurst museum if you wish. 🙂