The Berlin Medical History Museum of the Charité is closed until autumn 2021.
Preserved organs, antique prosthetic limbs and interesting X-rays - these are just some of the exhibits from 300 years of medical history found at the Berliner Medizinhistorisches Museum, which forms part of the famous Charité university hospital. Take a walking tour through rooms such as the old dissection hall and the anatomy lecture theatre. The centrepiece of the museum is the anatomical specimen collection of famous German pathologist Rudolf Virchow. 750 preserved organs - at all stages of health - are on display in the museum today.
Follow in the footsteps of Rudolf Virchow
By 1939, the collection of anatomical specimens housed in the museum reaches 35,000 objects. The famous doctor and pathologist Rudolf Virchow collects nearly all the specimens himself. In 1899, he opens the Pathology Museum as part of the Charité university hospital. Today, the museum's permanent exhibition "Tracing Life" looks at Virchow's life and legacy. Walk through the anatomy lecture theatre from the early 18th century, complete with a dissection table on a raised platform. Then go into the pathologist's dissection area where the organs are prepared. This is where you will find more of the Virchow collection. Each glass case focuses on a different body part. One, for example, displays various stages of brain tumours. Or you can see a heart which has undergone a quadruple bypass operation. Healthy organs are also displayed for comparison. In the ward you meet ten patients from three different centuries, including a woman experiencing a difficult birth in the 18th century and a 2006 patient suffering from sepsis. This helps visitors understand how modern medicine has progressed. Hear what the patients have to say about their feelings, suffering and healing. At the end of the exhibition is the lecture hall where meetings and workshops take place even today.
Rudolf Virchow's work table.
Virchow's collection of organs in dry and wet preparations.
10 patient studies from across 300 years of medicine.
Antique medical instruments such as skull drills and enema syringes.
The ruins of the former Rudolf Virchow lecture theatre.
Other science and natural history museums
Berlin's Natural History Museum, Naturkundemuseum, is only 600 metres from the Berliner Medizinhistorisches Museum, and this is most definitely the museum for dinosaur fans. Here you'll find one of the largest Giraffatitan skeletons in the world. You can also see prehistoric birds, imprints of fossils and a 12-metre long biodiversity wall. For something more up to date, visit the Science Center Ottobock, dedicated to the latest developments in medical science such as mind-controlled prosthetics. The centre also has exhibits about possible future developments in the world of politics, business and science. In the government area of Berlin, the Museum für Kommunikation gives you information about the modern media landscape and the history of communication from tin can telephones to smartphones and interactive robots.
Useful information for your visit
Children under the age of 16 can only be admitted to the Medical Museum under adult supervision. Guided tours are available to school groups with children of 10th grade or older. Guided tours should be booked at least three weeks in advance. The easiest way of getting to the museum is by train; take the S5, S7 or S75 to Hauptbahnhof or Friedrichstraße. From there, it's a 15 minute walk to the Medizinhistorisches Museum.