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Buchstabenmuseum (Museum of Letters)

Urban typographic treasures

This unique collection from the world of letters displays more than 1,000 examples of letters, logos and signs. Most of the exhibits come from the Berlin cityscape including, for example, the letters “HAUP” from the former central station, today’s Ostbahnhof. There is also an “E” from scenes of Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” on display. This letter was the only one to survive the explosion of the Le Gamaar cinema in the film’s final showdown. There are also treasures from all over Germany, Austria and Bulgaria in the collection. The letters are full sized and tell a story of the city, its transition and nostalgic brand names.

City history and signs of time - letters, writing and advertising

The founders of the museum have been saving letters, symbols and adverts for posterity since 2005. The first exhibition in 2008 contains exhibits weighing up to 100 kilograms and 2.5 metres in height. The museum has moved several times since then but is now in its permanent home in the Hansaviertel. The lettering “Buchstabenmuseum” is immediately seen as a neon blue display. Many of the exhibition pieces also glow in neon. Other exhibits are filigree, from wood or stainless steel. While they previously gave the Berlin cityscape and other areas a special flair, now they are on display in the Museum of Letters. For example, you will find the “Schuhe” neon sign from Alt-Tegel and the curved „Zierfische” that adorned the pet shop on Karl-Marx-Allee at Frankfurter Tor. While the letters in the cityscape often fall way, they are restored and given a second life in the museum. Here you can learn of the background, individual techniques and fonts.

Entry of the Buchstabenmuseum (Museum of Letters)
Entry of the Buchstabenmuseum (Museum of Letters) © Maartje van Caspel

Highlights in the Museum of Letters

  • "Titania" – Letters from the Steglitzer Kino cinema, Berlin’s oldest neon sign from the 20s.
  • "Tagesspiegel" logo from Potsdamer Straße 83.
  • Symbol of the previous Berlin power station Bewag.
  • Custom-made logo for the market hall at Alexanderplatz.
  • An "E" from the filming of Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds".

Museums and other venues nearby

The Akademie der Künste is located in the immediate vicinity of the Buchstabenmuseum. Regular exhibitions and events are held there on current topics from art and politics. Only around 20 minutes' walk away is the graffiti museum in the Arte Local in Turmstraße. Berlin itself is one of the largest street art galleries in the world – and this is now, for the first time, in a fixed location. Haus der Kulturen der Welt at Tiergarten is an established address for international art. The "Pregnant Oyster", as it is also called, is a stage for high-profile events focusing on science, politics, culture and the media. The Bauhaus Archive is located at the other end of the Tiergarten. You can visit the world’s largest collection of famous design and architecture schools in the Museum für Gestaltung. The exhibits reveal the worldwide influence of the Bauhaus to this day. Visit the Werkbundarchiv, also known as Museum der Dinge, near Kottbusser Tor. Here you will learn everything about the Viennese union of the same name from 1907. The focus is on fashionable industrial products of the 20th and 21st centuries – presented in innovative showcases in a former workshop.

Recommendations for visiting the Museum of Letters

The museum is located in one of the arcs under the S-Bahn station at Bellevue, directly in the Hansaviertel. To get to the station, you can take the S-Bahn S5, S7 and S75. Alternatively, take the U9 underground line to Hansaplatz, which is 500 metres away. The museum is currently closed for renovation.

Letter Museum in Berlin
Letter Museum in Berlin © Andrea Katheder

Opening hours

Friday 13:00 – 17:00
Saturday 13:00 – 17:00
Sunday 13:00 – 17:00
Thursday 13:00 – 17:00