In the modern Pei Building, you can see temporary exhibitions devoted to equally formative historical epochs and events as well as social developments in Germany.
The historic Zeughaus with its permanent exhibition is closed until the end of 2025 for a fundamental renovation. The modern exhibition hall, the Pei-Bau, remains open and continues to present exciting temporary exhibitions and events.
The German Historical Museum in the cultural centre of Berlin is Germany's national history museum and a place for communicating and discussing historical eras and formative events.
In Berlin's historic centre, German history can be experienced in two architecturally remarkable buildings: the historic Zeughaus, which is being renovated for the next few years, and the modern exhibition hall by I.M. Pei.
Baroque Zeughaus and the modern exhibition hall "Pei-Bau"
Chancellor Helmut Kohl signed the museum’s founding document in 1987 – a fitting event to mark the city’s 750th anniversary. The West German government was enthusiastic about the ambitious plan and laid the foundation stone at the Spreebogen, the bend in the river Spree in West Berlin. When the Wall fell, things changed: the German Historical Museum foundation, which was still in its infancy, received all the relevant collections and moved into the historic Zeughaus: an important baroque building and former armoury, and the oldest building on Unter den Linden. This is where the permanent exhibition of the German Historical Museum was presented here until June 2021, presenting German history in a European context and in chronological order. The variety of artefacts that are now being restored is impressive – in addition to medieval knight’s armour, filigree embroidered uniform jackets from the 18th century and pictures and election posters from the Weimar Republic, there is also an original piece of the Berlin Wall.
However, the survey exhibition on German history showing these objects is closed until probably 2025. During this time, a new permanent exhibition will be developed and the Zeughaus will be renovated. The DHM's diverse digital offerings continue to focus on the historical objects, for example in digital presentations and the brand new interactive learning portal IDA.
In 2003, the modern exhibition area designed by the American-Chinese architect Ieoh Ming Pei was opened. It is a successful addition to the historic main building. Exciting temporary exhibitions on current historical and political issues will be shown here in the coming years.
More museums and memorial sites in the vicinity
From the Deutsches Historisches Museum, you can visit the Neue Wache right next door. It is the central memorial site for victims of war and tyranny. The bronze sculpture "Mother with her Dead Son" by Käthe Kollwitz sits inside, inviting you in for a moment of reflection. Located just a few minutes away you'll find the Forum Willy Brandt Berlin. Here you will learn about the fourth Chancellor, from his days as a young worker in Lübeck to his metamorphosis into a globally-respected statesman. The German Bundestag's art collection holds regularly changing exhibitions, presenting works from the contemporary art scene. About 15 minutes away from the Zeughaus lies the Tränenpalast. "Border experiences - life during the division of Germany" is the title of its permanent exhibition. The nearby DDR Museum presents the daily life of GDR citizens. Take a simulated "Trabi" ride and browse cabinets, hear music played on a carat turntable and enter a prefabricated apartment.
Tips for your visit from visitBerlin
The Deutsches Historisches Museum is best reached by public transport. The nearest underground station is the U5-station "Unter den Linden". The buses 100, 200 and TXL stop almost right in front of the entrance. Motorists can find paid parking in the City-Quartier DOM-Aquarée garage, or in the underground car park at Bebelplatz. With the Berlin WelcomeCard, you get 25% discount on the entrance fee. Children and young people under 18 may visit the museum for free.