Entertainment & Arts

Europe, Germany, Berlin

The Berlin Musical Instrument Museum (German: Musikinstrumenten-Museum Berlin) is located at the Kulturforum on Tiergartenstra├če. The museum contains a collection of over 3,500 musical instruments from the 16th century onward and is one of the largest and most representative musical instrument collections in Germany. The museum was founded in 1888 as a collection of ancient musical instruments by Philipp Spitta and Joseph Joachim from at the Royal Academy of Music in Berlin. The first exhibits were from the Applied Arts Museum. Today the museum is part of the State Institute for Music Research, and is thus part of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. Since 1984, the museum has been located in a Edgar Wisniewski-designed building at the Kemper Platz, next to the Berlin Philharmonic at the Cultural Forum in Berlin. There are about 800 exhibits presented in a permanent exhibition and those that are still playable are played regularly. The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) and the National Institute for Music Research (SIM) form a unit in Berlin. Their common building was constructed between 1979 and 1984 by Edgar Wisniewski after the designs of architect Hans Scharoun, who had died in 1972. The museum is one of the few places where a theater organ can be heard live: the 1929 Mighty Wurlitzer organ (with 1228 pipes, 175 stops and 43 pistons), which had been formerly in the concert hall of Ferdinand Werner von Siemens's villa, the grandson of the Siemens founder. Every Thursday after the guided tour at 6 pm and every Saturday at noon the instrument is played publicly. The collection focuses on harpsichords of the Ruckers family of Flemish instrument makers, Moeckel-fiddles, Italian master violins of Amati, Guarneri and Antonio Stradivari, fortepianos, virginals and clavichords, Bechstein upright pianos and grand pianos, wind instruments of the Baroque, Moritz-brass instruments, and automatic musical instruments (music boxes, orchestrion). In the Historical Division of the SIM a history of music theory is being written and published for the Institute as a series of books. The museum has its own concert hall, the Curt-Sachs-Saal, where chamber concerts take place regularly.