World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Berlin Musical Instrument Museum

Article Id: WHEBN0024414490
Reproduction Date:

Title: Berlin Musical Instrument Museum  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Musette de cour, Tiergartenstraße, Curt Sachs, Wurlitzer, Theatre organ
Collection: Museums in Berlin, Music Museums in Germany, Musical Instrument Museums, Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Berlin Musical Instrument Museum


The Berlin Musical Instrument Museum (German: Musikinstrumenten-Museum Berlin) is located at the Kulturforum on Tiergartenstraße in Berlin, Germany. The Museum holds over 3,500 musical instruments from the 16th century onward and is one of the largest and most representative musical instrument collections in Germany. Objects include a portable harpsichord once owned by Prussia’s Queen Sophie Charlotte, flutes from the collection of Frederick the Great, and Benjamin Franklin’s glass harmonica.[1]


  • History 1
  • The Building 2
  • The Collection 3
  • References 4
  • Gallery 5
  • External links 6


The Museum was founded in 1888 at the Royal Academy of Music in Berlin from a collection assembled by Sachs-Hornbostel system of instrument classification. The Museum rose to international importance and his catalogs form the basis of academic research papers to this day. [3]

When the Nazis seized power in 1933, Sachs was dismissed from his post by the Nazi Party and forced to emigrate because he was Jewish. In 1935, the musical instrument collection was removed from the Academy to the new National Institute for German Music Research headed by Max Seiffert. The new Museum opened its doors at the Palais von Kreutz at Klosterstraße 36 in 1936, and by World War II it owned over 4000 instruments.[4] During the war, the Museum and its collection was almost completely destroyed. In 1943, holdings were evacuated from Berlin to protect them from Allied bombing. Despite extensive security measures, a large portion was lost. In January 1945 "by decree of the Reich Minister for Science, Education and Public Education," the Museum was closed. By war's end, the building was a ruin and only 700 instruments of the original collection survived.[5]

In the immediate aftermath of the war, what was left of the Museum and Institute was directly administered by the government of organology.

Since 1984, the museum has been located in a Wisniewski-designed building at the Kemper Platz, next to the Berlin Philharmonic on the Kulturforum. Today there are over 3,200 instruments in the collection and about 800 exhibits are presented in permanent exhibition. Those instruments that are still playable are played regularly. Today the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) is part of the State Institute for Music Research, under the auspices of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.

The Building


The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) and the State Institute for Music Research (SIM) form a unit in Berlin. Their common building was constructed between 1979 and 1984 by Edgar Wisniewski after the designs of architect Hans Scharoun, who had died in 1972.

The museum is one of the few places where a theater organ can be heard live: the 1929 Ferdinand Werner von Siemens's villa, the grandson of the Siemens founder. After the guided tour every Thursday after 6 pm and every Saturday at noon the instrument is played publicly. The museum also has its own concert hall, the Curt-Sachs-Saal, where chamber concerts take place regularly.

The Collection

  • Organs
    • The Mighty Wurlitzer Theater organ
    • Gray Organ: An English master instrument of the early 19th century.
  • Automatic musical instruments: (music boxes, orchestrion)
  • Electronic musical instruments: Trautonium
  • Glass Harmonica of Benjamin Franklin
  • Musical Curiosities
    • Aeolian harp: A favorite of Goethe's
    • Arpeggione: An instrument-making experiment that would have been forgotten, had Franz Schubert not composed a Sonata for it
    • Sausage Bassoon and Bush Trumpet
    • Travel-harpsichord: a rarity at the Prussian Court


  1. ^ " Musikinstrumenten-Museum". 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  2. ^ "Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung: Musikinstrumenten-Museum" (in German). SPK. 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  3. ^ Allen, Warren Dwight (1962), "Philosophies of Music History: A Study of General Histories of Music 1600-1960", p. vi, Dover 0-486-20282-8
  4. ^ "Musikinstrumenten-Museum: Geschichte" (in German). MIM-SPK. 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  5. ^ "Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung: Geschichte" (in German). SIM-SPK. 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 


External links

  • Official site (German)


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.