How is knowledge about the past of Eastern and Western Germany and other former socialist states constructed in Berlin’s museums and heritage sites? Throughout this semester, we will take up the IfEE-Institutskolloquium’s theme and engage with these sites to analyze them with regard to this question.

During this brown-bag-lunch-session we are going to reflect and discuss experiences collected at the DDR-Museum. Don’t worry if you haven’t been part of the experience – you will have the chance to speeddate some of its visitors.

Drinks included, please bring your own snacks.

Join in!

February 23rd, 2018: Final Session

For our final session of this term’s Museumslabor we will discuss our experiences from our many museum (or memorial) visits as a group, as well as exchange ideas and expectations for the summer term’s Museumslabor.

We will meet from 12.00 – 13.30 in room 408 of the Institute of European Ethnology.

February 8th, 2018: Visit to Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen

!! Change of time: Please note that this event starts already at 1.50 p.m.!

Together we will visit the Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen with a guided tour.

Please note: This is not free of charge, it will cost 10-15 € depending on the number of participants.

Meeting point: 1.50 p.m. at the entrance gate.

In case you would like to join in, please contact Christine Gerbich (

Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen - Photos and Further Information

Find further information on the Gedenkstätte’s website.

January 26th, 2018: Presentation by Philipp Schorch (Staatliche Kunstsammlung Dresden)

Attempting to Materialise Two Germanys: (Post)colonial Exhibitions and the ‘Cold Odyssey’ of Objects between East and West

12.00 – 13.30 / Institute of European Ethnology, CARMAH, Möhrenstraße 40/41 10117 Berlin, Room 408

Many, if not most, will be familiar with the Humboldt Forum currently under development in Berlin, which attempts to reconfigure the rebuilt Berliner Schloss as a museum forum for the world. Most, if not all, will know that modern Germany was separated into two–the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, and the Federal Republic of Germany, or West Germany–by the victorious allies after World War II up until its reunification in 1990. What is less known, however, is how postcolonial history as well as the corresponding histories of anthropology and ethnographic museums evolved differently in East and West Germany due to the different, ideologically-driven perspectives on a common past.In tracing this complex story, this paper extends the material-spatial (re)writing of history beyond the building, as the Humboldt Forum, to explore the internal process of museum exhibitions. In doing so, I show how the Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig (now Grassi Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig), located in the East, reconstructed its Pacific exhibition in 1969/70 and, through this, rewrote (East) Germany’s (post)colonial relationship with the Pacific. The paper then proceeds to a particular collection, the so-called Leningrad-Sammlung, which was taken on a ‘cold odyssey’ from the Königliches Museum für Völkerkunde Berlin (now Ethnologisches Museum Berlin) to Leningrad, Leipzig and back to Berlin between 1945-1992. The socio-political life of this collection is then broken down to the level of objects, through which the political-symbolic trajectory–separation, odyssey, reunification–became materialised. At the same time, as will be shown, it is the stubborn persistence of material presences–museum exhibitions, collections, and objects–which resisted the de/reformation by totalising ideological prescriptions, and ultimately rendered their discursive utopian ambition materially and spatially impossible.

Philipp Schorch - Curriculum Vitae

Philipp Schorch is Head of Research and Exhibitions, State Ethnographic Collections Saxony, Germany, and Honorary Fellow at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University, Australia. He received his PhD from the Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand, and held fellowships at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg – Institute of Advanced Study, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, and at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Germany (Marie Curie, European Commission). Philipp is co-editor of the volumes Transpacific Americas: Encounters and Engagements between the Americas and the South Pacific (Routledge, 2016) and Curatopia: Museums and the Future of Curatorship (Manchester University Press, 2018).

January 11th, 2018: Visit to Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer

Together we will visit the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer with a guided tour by Sarah Bornhorst

Meeting point: 15.50 at the visitor centre, Bernauer Straße 119 (Bernauer Straße at the corner of Gartenstraße, opposite the entrance to S-Bahnhof “Nordbahnhof”).

In case you would like to join in, please contact Christine Gerbich (

November 30th, 2017: Visit to "Everyday Life in the GDR" at the Museum in der Kulturbrauerei

This session continued our exploration of the ways in which knowledge is constructed about everyday life in the GDR. It took place at the Museum in der Kulturbrauerei where we engaged with the museum’s permanent exhibition.

In case you wish to download apps provided by the museum, find them here for iOs and Android.

November, 17th 2017: Common reflections on visito to GDR Museum.

12.00 – 13.30 / Institute of European Ethnology, CARMAH, Möhrenstraße 40/41 10117 Berlin, Room 408.

November, 2nd 2017: Visit to GDR Museum.

Meeting point: 15.50 in the entrance.

Address: Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 1, 10178 Berlin (opposite Museum Island/ future Humboldt-Forum).

In case you would like to join in, please contact Christine Gerbich (

October, 20th 2017: Planning session

12.00 – 13.30 / Institute of European Ethnology, CARMAH, Möhrenstraße 40/41 10117 Berlin, Room 408

Join in this semester’s Museumslabor and contribute your ideas about the themes and formats you wish to explore during the semester!