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Sunday, February 5, 2023

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Berlin’s State Museums: Where do you go to the public, please?

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Where is the audience please? It’s a wrong world when the demand for more public proximity from Berlin’s state museums is repeatedly countered by pointing out that the lack of freely available budgets, hierarchies, bureaucracies and a lack of autonomy is responsible for the fact that the houses at the Kulturforum or on Museum Island is not run into like the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum in New York or the Tate in London.

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In fact, it’s all just a question of money, structure and the reform of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which is dragging on so slowly that on Monday it was already thought that the Foundation Council’s notification of the next steps was inadvertently the old one from 2021, because it had exactly the same goals had been declared? Is it really that costly to finally come up with widely-received ideas on how to lure people into those houses whose treasures are no less exciting than those found in competing houses around the world? The reform process will still take years – and until then everything will remain the same? Please do not.

A quick check: If you click on the museum website, you will see many tile images – buildings. Classicist columns, open staircases, temples. Lightning comparison: The first thing that appears on the National Gallery’s website is a Flemish winter landscape, matching the current own shivering – plus a button with opening times.

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If you then click further in the State Museums, for example on “Picture Gallery”, art does come into view. But no daily tours are advertised and the last blog entry is from June. Committed canvassing for the public looks different, especially for new groups of visitors, as the new director of the art gallery, Dagmar Hirschfelder, promised.

When the culture pass for young people organized by Minister of State Claudia Roth comes in 2023, how will the museums intend to attract 18-year-olds? (No money? Even reallocating the expenses for letter mail and glossy publications, for example to journalists, will definitely bring something).

And speaking of Roth: At the Museum of the 20th Century, currently the largest construction site in the SPK construction site, she makes a similarly hesitant impression as at the SPK. The barn is dramatically unecological. Why isn’t she, at least for once, pushing ahead with action, with a bold last-minute swing, instead of just her famously energetic words on the subject of sustainability? It can’t be the few solar panels on the roof.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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