Berlin has an incredible variety of museums to explore. More than 175 museums keep history alive or hold world-famous art treasures. Not everything is equally interesting for adults and young people, so you do some advance research when planning a school trip. This way, museum visits can become exciting and entertaining experiences for everyone. Many exhibitions are designed to be interactive with touching and doing expressly on the agenda! In addition, both the private and state museums in Berlin offer many special guided tours, workshops, and other events for children and young people. We have put together some insider tips in addition to the major art museums such as those on Museum Island, the Gemäldegalerie, and Hamburger Bahnhof.
The top 10 museums for young people in Berlin
It's a journey back in time to the 1980s at asisi Panorama THE WALL. In a gigantic steel rotunda, you can look down into the eastern and western parts of a divided city from the four-metre-high platform. Scenes reveal everyday life on both sides of the Wall. The slogans calling for loyalty to the state are juxtaposed with colourful billboards, with the watchful border guards in between. The contrast makes quite an impression.
Then head to the GDR Museum, where you can learn about and touch everyday life in the former East Germany. Rummage through the drawers and cupboards and take a vintage Trabi on a virtual tour through East Berlin.
Then you might want to find out more about the most unusual attempts at escaping East Germany at the Berlin Wall Museum at Checkpoint Charlie. Check out hot-air balloons, prepared suitcases, a mini-submarine, and cars with hidden luggage compartments to learn about true stories and the fates who tried to sneak across.
For a look back further in time, check out 800 years of Berlin history in 23 themed rooms at The Story of Berlin. Each is equipped with multimedia technology. Another special feature are the guided tours through the museum's original air-raid shelter deep beneath Kurfürstendamm.
Visit the the Nikolai Quarter, the oldest part of the city, and the Hemp Museum there. Learn about how the plant has been used to make clothing, paper, and medicine over the centuries. A highlight is the greenhouse where hemp plants are grown. In the café, you can also sample foods made with hemp.
A more modern cultural history awaits you and your students at the Computer Games Museum. Here you can follow not only the development of video game consoles, but also play original arcade games. But be careful, some young people will find it hard to leave as they tackle classics like Gauntlet, Pac-Man, Asteroid, and Space Invaders.
Enter a world caught between fiction and reality in the Museum of Unheard Things. Rarities such as white red wine can be found here, as well as curiosities such as the fur of a Japanese bonsai deer and Columbus' telescope.
The German Museum of Technology, on the other hand, is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. Even those who aren't usually interested in machines will find things to enjoy here. Among the best-known exhibits are an original aeroplane used in the Berlin Airlift, a RumplerTropfen car from the 1920s, a ship simulator, and Wilhelm II's magnificent limousine. In the adjacent Science Center Spectrum, young people can conduct fascinating experiments with magnets or electricity and experience bizarre lighting effects.
You will also want to experience one of the largest and most renowned museums of its kind at the Berlin Museum of Natural History. Be amazed at the world's largest dinosaur skeleton standing over 13 metres and visit Tristan, a rare Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton. Among the many stuffed animals there is Knut, a polar bear that once lived in Berlin's zoo. Immerse yourself in current events at the German Espionage Museum. Here, students learn what Facebook and NSA know, crack secret codes, and try to cross the laser beams à la Mission Impossible in one piece.
Special features of Berlin's museums
- The Museum of Natural History organises flashlight tours from October to March. These are guaranteed to give you goose bumps as you make your way through the shadows in the darkened museum rooms!
- The Science Center Spectrum, which belongs to the German Museum of Technology, offers numerous additions to the experimental exhibition especially for school classes. Let your group experience the exciting history of science up close in the Milestones student laboratory.
- In the seminar room at the GDR Museum, pupils can hear stories from those who lived in Communist East Germany and ask questions of someone who experienced it all personally.
- THE STORY OF BERLIN offers exciting history scavenger hunts and other hands-on activities.
Planning museum visits for young people
There are more than enough arguments for visiting museums when coming to Berlin on a school trip. With the right planning and preparation, costs can also be kept low. Our insider tips provide you with initial support for your sightseeing programme with young people:
- Avoid visiting museums at the weekend, because that's when the city's museums tend to be most crowded.
- Come first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid crowds. Several exhibitions are now open daily until 8 p.m., others open their doors on Thursday evenings for sightseeing.
- Please note that most of Berlin's museums are closed on Mondays.
- Reservations are mandatory if you want to participate in guided tours or workshops with your class. It is best to book your preferred event a few weeks in advance.
- The state museums in Berlin can be visited free of charge by all students up to the age of 18. Private museums all offer at least a discount and usually free admission for children up to the age of six.
- With group prices and discounts, however, you can also significantly reduce admission costs.
- Berlin's museums can all be readily reached by public transport. You can reach the ten museums listed here with tickets for the AB fare zone, which you can also obtain as a day ticket for small groups of up to five people. The S-Bahn, U-Bahn, trams, and buses make sure you and your group can reach the city's sights without having to walk long distances.