The old Eliaskirche is now a place for learning and play, serving as the impressive backdrop for the interactive MACHmit! Museum for kids.
A church, now a combination of children's museum and indoor playground: At MACHmit! Museum for kids, children can play and learn. Some areas are themed historically such as a printer's workshop and a soap shop. The museum is about learning through experimenting and touching, and there is lots of room to play. Kids love the mirror cabinet or the multi-storey climbing shelves. Parents aren't forgotten either, a family cafe makes MACHmit! a popular meeting place in the Prenzlauer Berg area.
From church to playground: touch, climb, learn
In 2003, the MACHmit! museum for kids opens in the former Eliaskirche, an unusual choice for a children's museum. The reason is simple: during the 1990s the church needs refurbishment but lacks funds, and the children's museum which is looking for a new location finds a very special one in the Eliaskirche, takes over and rennovates the building between 2000 and 2003.
Today the church is divided into spaces over several floors. On the ground floor, where the altar and congregation were, there are various play areas including the mirror cabinet where bodies are distorted in all kinds of odd and funny ways. Behind the mirrors is the old soap shop and the MACHmit! workshop areas where children can take a trip back into the history of the old Prenzlauer Berg district. In the printing shop, children can create traditional prints.
A dream come true for little bookworms is the International Book Miracle Chamber (Internationale Bücherwunderkammer), which was endowed by a large donation of children's books as part of the European Union National Institutes of Culture - Berlin Cluster.
Next door is the Paradiesgarten, where children learn about the world of plants. Upstairs are worktables where they can take part in arts and crafts - and take home their very own part of the mseum. Parents can sit in the café and watch over the entire museum, including the wooden climbing frame which reaches up to the ceiling. There's even a lift to make it easy for parents to reach their children on the frame. In one of the church's tower rooms you will find a small museum with all sorts of unusual objects such as the recently restored church organ which sounds as good as ever. Both children and adults can try playing the organ during special workshops.
Highlights of MACHmit! Museum for kids
7 metre high climbing frame with safety net.
The Eliaskirche's original church organ, restored and ready to play.
Historical printing press and hand printing in the printing shop.
The clockwork mechanism of the church clock.
Regularly changing shows and talks in the children's cinema.
More Berlin museums: dungeons and underworlds
In the Berlin Dungeon at Hackescher Markt, you'll enter a ghostly world suitable for children aged 10 or over. Here you can learn about 800 years of the darker side of Berlin's history, such as the witch hunts and the revolution of 1848. In the Berliner Unterwelten, you can get below the surface of Berlin. Beneath the tarmac, you'll go underground and travel through the layers of the past. There are former air raid shelters, subway tunnels, flak towers and industrial ruins. Most tours have a minimum age requirement of 7.
Tips for your visit
Take S-Bahn lines S8, S9, S41, S42 or S85 to Prenzlauer Allee station or the U2 underground line to Eberswalder Straße. Both stations are around 800m from MACHmit! Museum for kids. Children up to 2 years old are admitted free of charge, and there are family tickets for parents and up to three children. Groups of 10 or more get discounted rates. The museum does not take credit or debit card payments. Berlin WelcomeCard holders get a 27% discount on entry, and Museumspass holders go free for 3 consecutive days.
Not far to Helmholtzplatz
Helmholtzplatz and the area around it is one of the most popular neighbourhoods in trendy Prenzlauer Berg. Enjoy an ice-cream or a slice of home-baked cake and sit down on a bench to watch the world go by.