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The arts and crafts museum at Berlin Kulturforum.
The arts and crafts museum at Berlin Kulturforum. © visitberlin, Foto: Wolfgang Scholvien

Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts)

A treasure trove of everyday art and high culture

Art, fashion and design — find it all at the Kunstgewerbemuseum am Kulturforum. Trace the development of art and design from the Middle Ages to the contemporary across over 7,000 square metres. Since 2014, the building also houses the capital's first permanent fashion exhibition. Curated clothing; from Baroque court costume to haute couture, tell the story of the history of fashion. What's more, discover precious art treasures like the Portable altar of Eilbertus and Italian Majolica painting. No other object symbolises the origin of neoclassical design like the famous cabinet by David Röntgen. Go on an exciting journey through the history of fashion design in Europe at the continent's oldest dedicated museum, where you can also see stunning pieces of antique art.

Experience centuries of art and design history

The Kunstgewerbemuseum am Kulturforum opens its doors in 1867. Some of its finest exhibits come from the simultaneous World Exhibition in Paris. Inspirational art, crafts and design objects are used as teaching aids. After the destruction of the premises during the Second World War, some of the most valuable attractions move to Köpenick Palace. The majority, however, remain in West Berlin at Charlottenburg Palace. With the completion of the Kulturforum in 1985, these exhibits migrated to their present location in Potsdamer Platz. The city of Berlin commissions 1960s' architect Rolf Gutbrod to design the new museum building, one of the leading architects of the time. Typical of his style is the visibility of the building's constructive components. Opening up to visitors behind this raw facade, is a fascinating world of different materials and shapes. The museum presents precious treasures from an array of eras across multiple storeys. Start your tour of the history of design with the treasures of early Christianity. Magnificent altars and crosses shine with gold and shimmer with rubies. The collection continues with delicate crystal and silver work and valuable chests from the Renaissance. Vases in glass and porcelain and reliquaries in gold and gemstones complete the display. Since 2011, you can immerse yourself in the extensive Fashion Gallery. The fascinating rooms of the Kunstgewerbemuseum am Kulturforum present the history of fashion from the Baroque. The exhibition tour lets you window-shop showcases bringing the story of European art to life through almost 300 models. See dresses by famous fashion designers; Dior, Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel. The collection also includes jewellery and cosmetic paraphernalia. Complete your tour in the Kulturforum's basement, where you can learn about the beginnings of modern living at the Bauhaus exhibition. The Chair Gallery presents revolutionary designs from the 19th century to the present day.

The highlights: silverware, glass art and Art Nouveau vases

  • Burse reliquary from the Dionysius treasure of the Enger Foundation
  • Altar and dome reliquary of the Guelph treasure
  • Art Déco and Art Nouveau glass by Emile Gallé
  • The capital's first permanent fashion exhibition
  • Women's dress "robe à la française" (c.1765)

Discover other art treasures in the vicinity

More visitor magnets can be found at the Berlin Kulturforum such as the Gemäldegallery. An impressive frame, the gallery presents major works of European painting from the 13th to the 18th century. Discover the creations of Hieronymus Bosch, Rembrandt, Paul Peter Rubens and Lucas Cranach the Elder. Just 80 metres south of the Kunstgewerbemuseum, you find St. Matthew's Lutheran Church. This historic church harbours a secret: the "Stufen" (Steps) sculpture. Embedded in the ground, stairs lead down into a white wall of sheet metal: artist Micha Ullman hereby calls for reconciliation between the European Jews and Christians. At the Musikinstrumenten-Museum, you can admire objects that produce sounds. The State Institute for Music Research has more than 800 exhibits here. The Haus am Lützowplatz is a meeting point and hotspot for the contemporary art scene. In a 240 square metre space and adjacent wing, the Art Association holds changing exhibitions of contemporary art. Lectures, film screenings and symposia on changing topics from art to politics and economy complement an otherwise artistic programme.

Useful information for your visit

The Kunstgewerbemuseum am Kulturforum is located within walking distance of Potsdamer Platz and Matthäikirchplatz. Nearby, underground and S-Bahn station Potsdamer Platz includes the U2 and the S-Bahn lines S1, S2 and S25. When you arrive at the square, just walk past the Sony Center towards the Kunstgewerbemuseum. Also within easy reach of the museum are the M29, M41, M48, M85 and 200 buses. The stops are located either directly at or in the vicinity of the museum. There is also a car park at the Sony Center. Children under the age of 18 can visit for free. With a Berlin Museum Pass you enjoy free access to the Kunstgewerbemuseum and around 50 other Berlin museums, including the Gemäldegalerie and MusikinstrumentenMuseum in the Kulturforum. Register in advance for guided tours.

 

Tickets

Opening hours

Tuesday 10:00 – 18:00
Wednesday 10:00 – 18:00
Thursday 10:00 – 18:00
Friday 10:00 – 18:00
Saturday 11:00 – 18:00
Sunday 11:00 – 18:00

Find further information here