Twice a year, the museums in Berlin opened their door for a long night visit, from 6pm to 2am. When I first saw this I was thinking, “Who would want to go museums in the middle of the night? Had anyone watched Night at the Museums? There must be ghosts prancing around those ancient objects at night, right?”
Boy was I so wrong.
It’s a very exciting event. This year was the third time we went to such event in Berlin. We always went on the summer ones (since I had been a wimp to brace the winter chill at 1am). And yet, every year, we always found something new and interesting to see.
The ticket was 15 euros (10 if you’re qualified for a discount – student, elderly, etc). It included the admission price for all the participating museums and access to shuttle buses & Berlin transport systems (which meant you can get ANYWHERE easily). Pretty decent price, if you asked me.
There were 106 participating museums this time around, and there’s absolutely no way you could see them all within 8 hours. What you need is a good plan of what you’d like to see and make a good route out of it.
This year we calculated that we would spend around 1-2 hours in each museum. We prepared a list of 4-6 places we’d like to visit and the possible routes to go through all of them. The route we had wasn’t the most optimum but we got to the places we’d like to go.
1. Schwules Museum
It’s a museum dedicated to the history of homosexual people (especially in Berlin). They had been through a lot, especially in the Nazi period and I think it was great that now they have equal rights and recognition here. Unfortunately almost all of their exhibition texts are in German, although you could still browse through the pictures! And the people there are nice so I’m sure you could ask around if you have questions.
2. Mauermuseum – Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie
It’s probably one of the most famous museums here in Berlin. It exhibits the history of the Berlin Wall, how and why it was constructed, the escape attempts, and the fall of it. I found the museum too overcrowded, both with people and the amount of information. But if you’re interested in the history of Berlin Wall, this is the ultimate place to go.
3. Computerspielemuseum (Computer Games Museum)
Ah, my geeky gaming heart leaped when I knew this one was on the list. The museum was quite new (2010) but we hadn’t had the chance on visiting it yet. It has a permanent exhibition on how computer games evolved through the years and you could play with some of the games too! Very interesting although it was too crowded last time. They also had several live music events on that day, one of them is gwEm, a cool duo musicians from London who combined 8-bit music and heavy metal.
4. Kunstbibliothek – Kulturforum Potsdamer Platz. Vision & Fashion Exhibition.
I love this one! I didn’t know there was an exhibition on fashion here and we were lucky to accidentally come across it. It’s about sketches, drawings, and photographs that relates to fashion from the 1980-2010. There were plenty of really pretty visions and images from the fashion designer, or inspired by the fashion designers.
5. Helmut Newton Stiftung – Museum of Photography
We went directly for the special exhibition of Helmut Newton: Polaroids. I like the Polaroids images. I like how there’s a certain feel of realness in there. No photoshopping, and it’s all about the angles, composition, and light. Such a great work from a great artist.
6. Schloss Charlottenburg
It’s a palace built in the end of 17th century for Prussia’s first Queen, Sophie Charlotte. It has a beautiful Baroque architecture and I always found it interesting to imagine how they lived in that era. It also has a beautiful park behind it, which is quite close to where we live and it’s my favorite place to go jogging :).
We started exactly at 6pm, and we finished at 1:45 am. It was exhausting (be sure to wear comfortable shoes!) but it was well worth it. And I think our itinerary was good because we didn’t feel too overwhelmed since the museums we went to has different kinds of exhibitions.
(PS: If you only have an interest in one museum and you’d like to stay there the whole time, this is not the thing to do. First, it’ll be way cheaper to pay for an admission price for that one museum, and second, there will be a huge crowd. This event is good if you want to visit several museums or galleries and get an overview of it. Perhaps if you like a certain place, you could go again on the next day.)