'In the Light of Amarna': half a million visitors and counting
The director of the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, Prof. Dr. Friederike Seyfried, today welcomed the 500,000th visitor to the collection's current exhibition 'In the Light of Amarna - 100 Years of the Nefertiti Discovery'. Ms. Seyfried was lurking at reception in the lobby of the Neues Museum, bearing an array of gifts that included a bouquet of flowers, the exhibition catalogue, two VIP tickets for the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, and a MEMO game based on Nefertiti.The lucky visitor was Gabriele Hoffmann (39), who had travelled from Munich to Berlin to visit the museums with her son, Matteo (5). 'What a fantastic surprise!' she said, 'How lucky we are.' Matteo was especially delighted at the surprise greeting. Prof. Seyfried handed young Matteo the children's multimedia guide to the exhibition, which went down a treat as it turned out that Matteo - no stranger to museums - was already adroit at using multimedia guides. Thus kitted out, the director then led Ms. Hoffman and her son through the exhibition on a personal tour. The bust of Queen Nefertiti was recovered in Tell el-Amarna on 6 December 1912. The current exhibition marking its discovery has been on show at the Neues Museum since 7 December 2012 and has been extended until 4 August 2013 due to the massive visitor demand.
The 250,000th visitor is welcomed to the exhibition 'In the Light of Amarna. 100 Years of the Nefertiti Discovery' - now open until 4 August 2013
Dave and Clare Babbs from Chester in England were welcomed in person today by Friederike Seyfried, Director of the Ägyptisches Museum and Papyrussammlung (Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection) as the 250,000th visitors to the exhibition 'In the Light of Amarna - 100 Years of the Nefertiti Discovery.' They had come to Berlin from England especially to see the exhibition. Their last trip to the city in 2009 was just before the Neues Museum reopened and they didn't get to see the bust of Nefertiti. They were able to make up for it this time, and had the added surprise of being personally greeted by the director, and presented with a catalogue and various souvenirs of the exhibition.Following the success of 'The Adventure of Tell Halaf', 'Pergamon. Panorama of the Ancient Metropolis' and 'Renaissance Faces', yet another exhibition on Berlin's Museuminsel is enjoying record attendance, much to the satisfaction of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Director Friederike Seyfried is visibly delighted: "We're very happy that our anniversary exhibition is proving so popular; it's clear that our aim of presenting the discovery of the famous bust of Nefertiti in its archaeological and cultural-historical context has been a success. It's fantastic that we can extend the exhibition until the summer for people who are still interested in seeing it."
'In the Light of Amarna' Official Opening
On 6 December 2012, exactly 100 years to the day after the discovery of the Nefertiti bust in Tell-el Amarna, the exhibition 'In the Light of Amarna - 100 Years of the Nefertiti Discovery' was officially opened at the Neues Museum on the Museumsinsel Berlin. The assembled guests were officially greeted in a series of welcoming speeches delivered by Bernd Neumann, Minister of State for Culture and the Media, Hermann Parzinger, President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK), Michael Eissenhauer, Director General of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Mohamed Higazy, ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt (photo), and Friederike Seyfried, director of the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection and curator of the exhibition.The Minister of State for Culture was keen to emphasize that the bust of Nefertiti was beyond a doubt the rightful possession of the SPK. He made reference to the comprehensive documentation that supports this point. In his statement, he also made the case that artworks of this kind form part of a universal cultural heritage to be enjoyed by all humanity, and that, as such, they should be made accessible to as many people as possible, irrespective of where they are currently located. The exhibition will run until 13 April and features much more besides the famous bust, such as an array of objects from everyday life in Amarna. These objects have never gone on display before and have been restored for the first time for the purpose of today's show. They include cutlery, tiles, and jewellery. In addition, architectural models, historical documents, and films give a vivid sense of what life was like in the royal capital of Akhenaten and Nefertiti thousands of years ago, as well as documenting everyday life during the digs just over a century ago. They also clearly document the legal division of finds that occurred after the digs were completed. As was customary at the time, the division of finds, agreed to by both parties, meant that half the found objects passed into the hands of the excavating party, while the other half was handed over to the Egyptian authorities. The Berlin-based business leader, James Simon, started funding Ludwig Borchardt's excavations in 1912. Thanks to Simon's patronage and Borchardt's perseverance, the excavations resulted in the discovery of Nefertiti 100 years ago. As a consequence of the division of finds, some 5500 objects from the Amarna period came into the possession of James Simon, who later donated them to the Royal, now National Museums in Berlin (the Staatliche Museen).
Rooms empty, boxes still full! Exhibition set-up for 'In the Light of Amarna. 100 Years of the Nefertiti Discovery'
For the last ten weeks, preparations for the forthcoming exhibition 'In the Light of Amarna - 100 Years of the Nefertiti Discovery' have been in full swing on the two floors of the Neues Museum, on the Museumsinsel Berlin. Exhibition technicians have been busy painting, sanding, hammering, and drilling, so that the 'Light of Amarna' can shine by 7 December, when the show which centres on the famous Nefertiti bust is due to open its doors to the public.Art transportation experts and conservators have been working hand-in-hand to set in place the more than 1300 objects featured in the exhibition. From 7 December these objects, many never before seen, will tell the tale of religion, art, and day-to-day life in the former Egyptian royal city of Amarna.
Behind the Scenes - The 'Amarna Depository' at the Ägyptisches Museum and Papyrussammlung
During the preparations for the exhibition 'In the Light of Amarna - 100 Years of the Find of Nefertiti' the team of scholars, scientists and conservators spend countless hours poring over and reviewing the museum's holdings.In 1912, some 5500 archaeological objects found their way to Berlin as a result of the digs conducted by the German Egyptologist Ludwig Borchardt. The majority of these artefacts have since remained in storage in the storerooms of the Egyptian Museum and the Papyrus Collection. In the special storerooms, fondly dubbed the 'Amarna Depository', it is almost as hot and dry as it must have been in Amarna itself. This controlled climate is vital: if the humidity were too high, thousands of the small objects stored there would be severely damaged. Among the many kinds of objects held at the Depository are the Amarna ceramics, typically painted blue, and the wide variety of colourful faience ware. When handling the exhibits, our team of specialists must take extra-special care and always wear gloves: the objects are 3000 years old and date from the time of Akhenaton and his consort Nefertiti. They are particularly striking for their radiant colours and the elaborate floral designs that adorn them. The architectural ornaments and interior architectural elements made of coloured faience are a testament to the luxurious décor of the houses and palaces at the time. Further insight into the everyday lives of the inhabitants of Amarna is provided by the pieces of jewellery and stone tools from the sculptor workshops. An array of these previously unshown finds will feature in the exhibition, which is due to go on show at the Neues Museum from 6 December 2012.
Interview with Matthias Wemhoff, Direktor des Museums für Vor- und Frühgeschichte
What we always wanted to know about the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte Matthias Wemhoff, Director of the 'Museum of Prehistory and Early History', has the answers.What time period do the terms "prehistory" and "early history" refer to? These terms can be explained by developments in historical scholarship: for a long time, the term "history" only applied to research based on written sources. Everything that came from the era preceding recorded history was categorised as prehistory and everything that was known through just a few surviving written sources was considered early history. Today the discipline of history covers all types of sources equally. The museum's holdings are based on finds from excavations by well-known researchers and adventurers - how do archaeologists work today? Indeed, a significant part of our holdings was amassed in the decades preceding the First World War through large research projects and excavations, although collectors have also played an important role. Nowadays, the situation is more sensibly regulated by laws to protect cultural heritage. Collections can be expanded primarily through the acquisition of older collections, which is essential for us as one of few museums that can present the early periods of European cultural history so comprehensively. Spectacular one-off finds have become a rarity today. The Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte is closely associated with the name of the internationally renowned archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann. He discovered the ruins of the city of Troy and bequeathed his private collection to the Berlin museums. What significance does this unique treasure have for the museum? Heinrich Schliemann is one of the most significant patrons of our museum, and in fact of the entire Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. He certainly deserves greater respect than has been the case so far. Our museum now houses 9000 of the 12000 objects that were once in his collection, and are of great importance to research. Unfortunately, despite international laws, many gold artefacts and other objects have not been returned by Russia [after their seizure as loot after the war]. Your collection also includes the remains of a Neanderthal. What can bones from 45000 BCE tell us today? The remnants of the Neanderthals from Le Moustier-a prehistoric site in France-demonstrate just how important these early collections are. Research on Neanderthals has made great strides in recent times-and "our" skull has played an important part in this progress. Even now, 100 years since its acquisition, it is still an outstanding piece as very few Neanderthal finds to date are as well preserved. What is the most exciting or most significant object that you as an archaeologist have brought to light? That would have to be the discovery of somewhat unremarkable but easily datable pottery shards and a coin from the 9th century, which enabled me to date a burnt layer uncovered during the excavation of Herford Abbey. This was a key find for the overall interpretation of the site.
The Papyrus Collection presents 6,000 documents from ancient Egypt in an online database
As a part of its digitalisation project, the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection of the National Museums in Berlin will make 6,000 texts available in an online database by autumn 2013. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).The database offers both scholars of antiquity and the general public access to high-quality images of objects and relevant information, as well as further opportunities for research. As Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK) notes: "This database exemplifies the great opportunities the digitalisation of cultural property can offer. Extremely fragile objects can be seen by a vast number of people interested. This would have been very difficult in the museum, if not impossible". The project emphasises the SPK's commitment to digitalising large portions of its collection and making them accessible to the public - from any place, at any time, and free of charge. In the coming months, the data collected from the Papyrus Collection will be entered into the "SPK Digital" portal and the German Digital Library (DDB). Within the coming year, the DDB will release a beta version with a database including approximately six million objects. The "Berlin Papyrus Database (BerlPap)" already includes 650 objects, many of which have been imaged for the first time. The Papyrus Collection's project director, Fabian Reiter, hopes that financial support will be renewed. That way, other exhibits could be added to the database, and objects that have not yet been researched or restored and are still in the original containers from their excavation sites, would be accessible. The National Museums in Berlin's Papyrus Collection comprises tens of thousands of inscribed papyri, 7,000 ostraca (inscribed clay fragments), and over 1,000 parchments. As such it is the most important papyrus collection in Germany and is one of the five largest collections of its kind in the world.
Neues Museum receives German Architecture Prize
David Chipperfield and his team are to be awarded the German Architecture Prize in October 2011 for their outstanding work on the Neues Museum. In addition, the museum has received a further accolade in the form of the Philippe Rotthier European Prize for Architecture, in the category of 'best museum renovation'. These two awards are only the last in a line of accolades that the Neues Museum has received since its opening in 2009:2011 - European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture / Mies van der Rohe Award - German Architecture Prize - Philippe Rotthier European Prize for Architecture 2010 - European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards 2010 - The 'Great Nike' (main award) and the 'Nike for perfection in detail 2010' from the Association of German Architects (BDA) - Travel + Leisure Design Award 2010 in the category of 'best museum' 2009 - BDA Prize Berlin - Special distinction in the Architecture Prize Berlin - Culture Prize Berlin, from the BZ newspaper - RIBA Award, and the RIBA Crown Estate Conservation Award, from the Royal Institute of British Architects - Excellence in Design Award in the category of historical preservation/restoration, from the American Institute of Architecture UK Chapter
Neues Museum wins EU Prize for contemporary architecture
The European Commission announced that the Neues Museum is the winner of the 2011 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture / Mies van der Rohe Award. The 'Emerging Architect Special Mention' award goes to Ramon Bosch and Bet Capdeferro for the Collage House in Girona, Spain.The original Neues Museum, designed by Friedrich August Stüler, was built in the mid-19th century. The building was severely damaged in the Second World War and reconstruction began in 2003, with the aim of restoring the site to its former glory. David Chipperfield, who worked on the project with fellow British architect Julian Harrap, adopted a dynamic approach in his restoration. Rather than attempting to conceal the difference between the old and new elements, the past and present are beautifully combined to create an unforgettable building with multiple layers. The winners were chosen from 343 submitted works in 33 European countries. Six works were shortlisted for the Prize. The other finalists were: - Bronks Youth Theatre (Brussels, Belgium, designed by Martine De Maeseneer, Dirk Van den Brande); - MAXXI: Museum of XXI Century Arts (Rome, Italy, by Zaha Hadid, Patrick Schumacher, Gianluca Racana); - Concert House Danish Radio (Copenhagen, Denmark, by Jean Nouvel); - Acropolis Museum (Athens, Greece, by Bernard Tschumi) and - Rehabilitation Centre Groot Klimmendaal (Arnhem, The Netherlands, by Koen van Velsen). The award ceremony will take place on 20 June 2011 at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona (Mies van der Rohe Award 2011). The European Union prize for Contemporary Architecture is supported by the European Commission in the framework of its Culture Programme and by the Mies van der Rohe Foundation.
Neues Museum among finalists for the European Union Przie for Contemporary Architecture 2011
The European Commission and Mies van der Rohe Foundation have announced the six finalists for the Prize of the European Union for Contemporary Architecture 2011, Mies van der Rohe Award. In all, some 323 submissions were entered from projects across 33 European countries.The prize awards outstanding contemporary building projects. It is the most prestigious of all European architectural awards, comes with a prize of 60,000 euros and has been awarded every two years since 1987. The projects are nominated by a panel of independent experts, member associations of the Architect's Council of Europe, various national institutes of architects and the award committee's own advisory board. The award will be presented on 20 June 2011 in the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona, Spain. In anticipation of the result, Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: 'Our finalists all have two things in common: they are Europeans, and they are placed in the league of the most visionary architects in the world. Our award pays tribute to their talent and illustrates what our creative economy achieves on an economic, social and cultural level.' The six contestants into the final round are: - Neues Museum Berlin, Germany - David Chipperfield Architects / David Chipperfield - Bronks Youth Theatre Brussels, Belgium MDMA - Martine De Maesenner Architecten / Martine De Maeseneer, Dirk Van den Brande - MAXXI: Museum of XXI Century Arts Rome, Italy - Zaha Hadid Architects / Zaha Hadid, Patrick Schumacher, Gianluca Racana - Concert House Danish Radio Copenhagen, Denmark - Ateliers Jean Nouvel / Jean Nouvel - Acropolis Museum Athens, Greece - Bernard Tschumi Architects / Bernard Tschumi - Rehabilitation Centre Groot Klimmendaal Arnhem, The Netherlands - Architectenbureau Koen van Velsen / Koen van Velsen
Missing Berlin museum inventory lists discovered in Dresden
Several historical catalogues of works that once belonged to the Berlin Museum of Prehistory and Early History have recently been found in Dresden and were officially returned to the National Museums in Berlin on 30 March 2011.The three very unassuming books resurfaced during a review of documents held at the local authorities' archaeology offices in Saxony. Two of them belong to the 'Inventarium Vaterländischer Altertümer' (or 'Inventory of Ancient Artefacts of the Fatherland') which has been missing since 1945 and originally encompassed six, hand-written folios. Illustrated with numerous drawings by hand, the museum catalogue contains detailed information on important archaeological finds from across the whole of Prussia which were absorbed in great numbers into the holdings of the Prussian State Museum of Prehistoric Archaeology after its founding in 1829. The objects had previously been held in the 'Kunstkammer', or cabinet of art, of the Hohenzollerns, a German royal family. Historian Dr. Leopold Freiherr von Ledebur (1799-1877), the founding director of the Prussian archaeological institute, which was housed in the Neues Museum from 1849, compiled the first volumes himself as far back as 1835 and preceded to maintain them single-handedly for more than 40 years. The third of the rediscovered catalogues, a record of archaeological acquisitions dating from the 1880s, includes details of several of the donations made to the Berlin Museums, by such figures as Rudolf Virchow (pathologist) and Heinrich Schliemann (excavator of Troy), to name but a few. It was the citing of names such as these that caused Dresden historian Ivonne Burghardt to suspect the valuable source materials were of Berlin provenance, after she came across them last year. The three volumes found their way to Dresden via Russia. In 1958, when many museum artefacts were returned en masse by the USSR to the GDR, Soviet museum workers mistakenly attributed the volumes as belonging to the Dresden Art Collections. Now, some 53 years later, they have been returned to the museum whose oldest archaeological holdings they document. The delight among Berlin museum workers at their rediscovery was palpable. Their hope that all six folios of the 'Inventory of Ancient Artefacts of the Fatherland' will one day be reassembled in their rightful place, now no longer seems entirely unrealistic, in view of what has been dubbed the 'Dresden inventory find'.
Burial site at Combe Capelle in France is not as old as previously assumed, by several thousands of years
A team of scientists, comprising members from Berlin's Museum of Prehistory and Early History, Universität Greifswald, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig and the Leibniz Laboratory for Radiometric Dating and Stable Isotope Research in Kiel, have managed to unlock the secrets surrounding the dating of the burial site of Combe Capelle that was discovered by the Swiss researcher Otto Hauser in 1909.Since his sensational discovery, the site of Combe Capelle has long been considered one of the oldest finds of the remains of modern Homo sapiens anywhere in Europe. Due to the individual circumstances of the find, doubt was sometimes cast on its speculated age of more than 30,000 years and its connection with the transition to the Upper Palaeolithic (Châtelperronian). In spite of this, however, the remains (buried with a chain of mussel shells) were nevertheless thought to have originated in the Ice Age. After an initial sample of the famous skull failed to yield results in radiocarbon dating, a second sample was taken from a molar in the lower jaw for testing in June 2009 in Kiel. In previous cases, compact tooth enamel had shown better preservation conditions of the collagen needed for radiocarbon dating. A sufficient amount of collagen was able to be extracted after preparation and intense cleaning of the tooth substance. Subsequent analysis using accelerator mass spectrometry at the laboratory in Kiel assigned a date of 7575 BCE to the remains of what had previously been assumed to be an early Homo sapiens specimen, meaning earlier assumptions had been out by several thousands of years. The new dating for the site at Combe Capelle not only underscores the fact that finds of early anatomically modern humans, pre-dating 30,000 years ago, are extremely rare in Europe, but also confirms the trend that we have no evidence of burials from this era. At the same time, it has become clear that Châtelperronian culture in France was practised exclusively by the last Neanderthals. The new date places the crouched inhumation site from the rock shelter of Combe Capelle in the Middle Stone Age (Mesolithic), when humans lived in warm climatic conditions and survived by hunting, fishing and gathering nuts and berries, including hazelnuts. Inhumations from the later Middle Stone Age are exceptionally rare in Europe, and as such, the site of Combe Capelle remains an outstanding testament of European prehistory.
National Europa Nostra Awards for 2010 go to the Neues Museum and Baerwaldbad
In a ceremony held today in Baerwaldbad in Kreuzberg, Berlin, the Neues Museum received a key accolade from the EU in the form of the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, in the category of 'Conservation'.Hermann Parzinger, President of the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage, was overjoyed: 'That the Neues Museum has received the highest prize from the European Union for Cultural Heritage, only confirms our efforts in carefully renovating the piece of world cultural heritage that is the Museum Island Berlin, while at the same time modernizing it for future use.' The venue for the awards ceremony, Baerwaldbad historical public baths, itself also received one of the main Europa Nostra Awards in the category 'Education, Training and Awareness-Raising'. The Europa Nostra Awards are announced each year and honour outstanding achievements in the areas of restoration, research and education. Both projects were already honoured along with four other 'Grand Prix Laureates' earlier in summer, during an international ceremony held in Istanbul, after being selected from a total of 139 projects from 26 European countries. The Neues Museum has been showered with numerous other prizes for its reconstruction, including: the BDA Prize Berlin 2009 (awarded by the Association of German Architects), a special prize from the Architecture Prize Berlin 2009, the 'Great Nike' (main award) and the 'Nike for Perfection in Detail' from the BDA, the BZ's Culture Prize (awarded by a popular city newspaper), as well as the Travel + Leisure Design Award 2010 in the category of 'Best Museum'. In addition, the Neues Museum also clinched the Royal Institute of British Architects' RIBA Award in 2010 and the RIBA Crown Estate Conservation Award, as well as the Excellence in Design Award from the American Institute of Architecture UK Chapter in the category of 'Historical Preservation/Restoration'.
Spectacular find in excavations in Berlin: Unearthing of works of 'degenerate art' believed lost forever
During excavation work conducted in Berlin's historical centre, archaeologists from Berlin city council have discovered eleven sculptures that were originally confiscated from German museums in 1937 as part of the Nazi's 'Degenerate Art' campaign. The works in question include bronzes by Edwin Scharff, Otto Baum, Marg Moll, Gustav Heinrich Wolff, Naum Slutzky and Karl Knappe, as well as parts of ceramic works by Otto Freundlich and Emy Roeder. Three further salvaged works have yet to be identified. These include the bronze figure of a woman, an incomplete and badly damaged ceramic sculpture, as well as a torso and head that probably belong to the same cast stone figure. The bronzes have for the most part survived unscathed, although they are covered in a thick patina, due to the long time spent in a confined space in the earth, as well as the effects of a fire they survived.The objects are on show from 9 November 2010 in an exhibition in the Greek Courtyard at the Neues Museum, Musuem Island Berlin. As part of their campaign against 'degenerate art', the Nazi regime confiscated and removed a great number of artworks, primarily from public museums and collections, but also from private collectors. The high point of their propaganda came in 1937 with the opening of the 'Degenerate Art' exhibition in Munich that was subsequently also shown in Berlin and numerous other cities. The works on show there, however, amounted only to a fraction of the total holdings created as a result of waves of confiscations. The works were supposed to be sold as a way to raise foreign currency. This plan only succeeded in part, however, and a large number of artworks remained in Berlin. They fell under the control of a department at the Reich Ministry for Propaganda. A number of these works later found their way into various art dealers' collections and were, as such, saved. The regime's actions were retroactively legalised through the passing of the 'Law on the Confiscation of Products of Degenerate Art', on 31 May 1938. Even today, many public collections still have gaps in their collections in the area of high modernist art. This also applies to the National Gallery's own collection, which has been fortunate, however, to have some of its works that survived the war reacquired on its behalf.
Neues Museum celebrates first anniversary
The 15 October 2010 marked the first anniversary of the Neues Museum's reopening on the Museum Island Berlin. Since opening its doors a year ago, more than 1.2 million visitors have streamed into the building to take a look at the exhibitions held by the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection and the Museum of Prehistory and Early History, with further objects from the Collection of Classical Antiquities. It took some 70 years before the museum, damaged as a result of the war, was finally able to be reopened last year.In the first year of its existence, the Neues Museum received numerous awards, including the Association of German Architects' (or BDA's) prize for 2009, the special Berlin Architecture Award 2009, the Travel + Leisure Design Award 2010, the RIBA Award 2010, the BDA's 'Große Nike' Prize and the European Union's Europa Nostra Prize 2010 for Cultural Heritage. Extensive cleaning and maintenance work is now required due to the great influx of visitors attracted to the museum over the last year. The Neues Museum will therefore be shut from Monday 24 January to Wednesday 26 January 2011 and will reopen on Thursday 27 January.
Neues Museum's one millionth visitor
At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, 1 September 2010, Michael Eissenhauer, Director General of the National Museums in Berlin, was delighted to be able to greet Harald Fuchs (48), from near Erlangen, as the millionth visitor to the Neues Museum and handed him the weighty volume 'Neues Museum', published by Nicolai Verlag Berlin, as well as a bouquet of flowers.Harald Fuchs was accompanied by his daughter, Claudia (8). They were on their way home from a holiday at the Baltic Sea. Father and daughter were making a quick stop-over in Berlin to see the bust of Nefertiti in the Neues Museum. After congratulating the visitors, Michael Eissenhauer took them on a tour of the Neues Museum, accompanied by Friederike Seyfried, Director of the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection and Matthias Wemhoff, Director of the Museum of Prehistory and Early History. Visitor interest has not waned since the reopening of the Neues Museum on 16 October 2009. More than 100,000 visitors have streamed into the museum every month, with nearly 4000 people passing through its doors each day, eager to get a chance to admire the unique building and the art treasures it contains from the inside.
Neues Museum receives European Union prize for cultural heritage
The Neues Museum has been presented with the Europa Nostra Award for exceptional achievements in the restoration, research and public awareness of Europe's rich architectural and artistic heritage.Designs by David Chipperfield and Julian Harrap formed the basis of the careful reconstruction of the building on the Museum Island, which has now been singled out for the prestigious award for cultural heritage in the category of 'conservation'. Hermann Parzinger, President of the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage, will personally accept the award on 10 June in Istanbul. Of the total 140 projects submitted, 29 winners from 15 different countries have been selected by a panel of independent experts from across Europe. The Neues Museum took twelve years to build, from 1843 to 1855. After being severely damaged in the Second World War, work on its reconstruction began in 2003. Well over half a million people have visited the museum already since its reopening in October last year.
President of the European Parliament visits the Neues Museum
On March 2010, His Excellency Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament, made a visit to the Neues Museum. Michael Eissenhauer, General Director of the National Museums in Berlin, was at hand to welcome the guest in a warm reception, held in the colonnade courtyard, which also included the President entering his name in the museum's guest book.The reception was followed by a tour through the Neues Mueum, led by Friederike Seyfried, Director of the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection. Our esteemed guest was particularly impressed by the architecture of the building itself, with its giant staircase that was severely damaged in the Second World War and lovingly restored and reconstructed by David Chipperfield. The architect's impressive achievement in reconstructing the Neues Museum has already garnered several architectural prizes. Mr. Buzek was naturally also afforded an opportunity to take in the world famous bust of Nefertiti during his tour. He was visibly impressed by the power of expression of the Berlin Green Head. Before leaving, he cordially thanked Friederike Seyfried for her magnificent tour and said farewell to his hosts.
Horst Köhler, Federal President of Germany, visits the Neues Museum
On the evening of 15 March 2010, Germany's Federal President, Horst Köhler, visited the Neues Museum accompanied by his wife, Eva. The esteemed guests were greeted by Hermann Parzinger, President of the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage, together with Michael Eissenhauer, General Director of the National Museums in Berlin.The presidential couple were then guided through the reopened building by Friederike Seyfried, Matthias Wemhoff and Andreas Scholl, the directors of the three collections held in the Neues Museum. The world famous bust of Nefertiti was a point of particular interest for the couple. Another aspect of the exhibition that seemed to capture their imagination was the religious-historical background of the Amarna Period, while they were also both visibly taken in by the unique Berlin Gold Hat in the Museum of Prehistory and Early History's collection. Mr. and Mrs. Köhler were deeply impressed by the prevailing sense of harmony in the restored building between the architectural structure itself and the many exhibits housed inside it. After the ravages of the Second World War, the Neues Museum was left as a ruin for almost 60 years. In October of last year it was reopened in a grand ceremony, after being restored by the architect David Chipperfield, and has been open to the public ever since.
Neues Museum - ein Bildungserlebnis mit Servicequalität
Unter diesem programmatischen Titel fand am 22. Januar 2010 auf der Berliner Museumsinsel eine Fachtagung statt, zu der die Besucher-Dienste der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin (SMB) eingeladen hatten.Mehr als 65 Fachleute aus deutschen Museen informierten sich über die für das Neue Museum eingesetzten Systeme in Ticketing und Führungsbuchung, lernten Ansätze der SMB im Qualitätsmanagement kennen, gewannen Einblicke in ein EU-Schulungsprogramm für Aufsichtspersonal und diskutierten über die Frage, welches Instrumentarium heute für Museen notwendig ist, um Massentourismus und Bildungsarbeit mit guter Service-, Aufenthalts- und Erlebnisqualität im Dauerbetrieb zu verbinden. Die Tagungsteilnehmer konnten sich von der Leistungsfähigkeit und Flexibilität des Zeitfenstersystems überzeugen. Michael Eissenhauer, Generaldirektor der SMB, konstatierte: "Obwohl nur maximal 1.200 Gäste gleichzeitig im Neuen Museum sein dürfen, hatten wir dort seit seiner Eröffnung bereits über 300.000 Besuche. Besonders stolz sind wir aber auch darauf, dass die durchschnittliche Verweildauer unserer Gäste im Neuen Museum bei mehr als 2,5 Stunden liegt. Dies zusammenzubringen ist eine logistische Meisterleistung. Sie ist nur möglich mit Hilfe eines neu eingeführten Ticketbuchungssystems, das den Besuchern eine Alternative zum Schlangestehen bietet, indem es durch Buchung von Zeitfenstern eine verlässliche Planung des Museumsbesuchs ermöglicht und zugleich zu einer besseren Auslastung der kostbaren Ressource Neues Museum über den gesamten Tag führt." Verbindliche Zutrittszeiten für Museen wurden von den Tagungsteilnehmern als wegweisendes Serviceangebot bewertet. Die Warteschlange, in Marketing und Medien immer noch gern als Qualitätsindikator beschworen, scheint mehr und mehr ein Auslaufmodell zu sein.
Neues Museum voted 'Best Museum 2010'
The Neues Museum was able to notch up three separate prestigious national awards last year, in the form of the Bundesverband der Deutschen Tourismuswirtschaft's prize for innovation, the Berlin Architecture Award and the special award by the Bund Deutscher Architekten. The museum has now gone one better and received its first international award.Each year the famous American 'Travel + Leisure' magazine announces its coveted Best Design Awards, spread over 16 separate categories, which pay tribute to 'outstanding design and modern architecture in the world of the traveller'. The Neues Museum received the distinction of 'Best Museum 2010' during an awards ceremony held on 22 February in San Francisco. In their statement, the jury above all praised the way David Chipperfield had 'embedded architectural innovation in a historical space.' The museum, originally built in the 19th century, lay as a ruin for almost 60 years after being severely damaged in the Second World War. The end of the period of reconstruction, headed by David Chipperfield, was marked with the museum's celebrated opening in October last year. People continue to this day to flock in droves to the museum, which also contains the world famous bust of Nefertiti.
DNA analysis of Tutankhamun’s mummy confirms image analysis by scholars
The recently released findings of the DNA tests on Tutankhamun's mummy by Zahi Hawass, General Secretary of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, have a direct bearing on the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection in Berlin.One of the best known objects in the exhibition is the relief known as 'Walk in the Garden', which occupies a central position in the Neues Museum next to the bust of Nefertiti. The painted limestone relief depicts the royal couple Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun, one of Nefertiti and Akhenaten's daughters. A scientific analysis of the picture, first published in 1980 by the Egyptian Museum's Dietrich Wildung, identified possible symptoms of ailments from which Tutankhamun may have suffered, which have now been confirmed by the DNA analysis of the mummy released today. In the process, particular attention was paid to the king's posture on the relief. He is seen supporting himself with a stick while one leg lags limply behind - a sign of a possible leg injury. DNA analysis on the mummy now shows that Tutankhamun was infirm and, due to a deformed left foot, suffered from mobility impairment. The evidence points to him being in pain and having to rely on a walking stick. The Berlin relief, which has since been assigned the name 'Walk in the Garden', is nothing less than the faithful contemporary depiction of what has now been confirmed by science. The Egyptian artist responsible for the relief depicted the symptoms in such an appropriately discreet and aesthetic manner that the picture's shocking content is not immediately apparent. The mystery over the identity of the mummies from tombs 55 and 35 in the Valley of the Kings remains unsolved. The DNA testing has established that they are Tutankhamun's parents and siblings. There is however inconclusive evidence to identify Tutankhamun's parents as Akhenaten and Nefertiti. DNA testing presents historians with an opportunity and a challenge to use current scientific findings to come up with new approaches to disentangling the web of questions surrounding Tutankhamun's parents.
Kroatischer Präsident im Neuen Museum
Am Nachmittag des 13. Februars 2010 durften der Generaldirektor Michael Eissenhauer, die Direktorin des Ägyptischen Museums und Papyrussammlung Friederike Seyfried und die stellvertretende Direktorin des Museums für Vor-und Frühgeschichte Alix Hänsel einen hochrangigen Staatsbesuch empfangen. Bei seinem Berlin Aufenthalt ließ sich der kroatische Staatspräsident Stjepan Mesić den Besuch des Neuen Museums nicht nehmen.Der Gang durch vergangene Kulturen führte beide zuerst durch die Sammlung des Ägyptischen Museums und Papyrussammlung. Besonders verzauberte auch den Staatspräsidenten die weltberühmte und geheimnisvolle Büste der Nofretete. Die berühmte Sammlung der Amarna-Kunst und der "Berliner Grüne Kopf" durften bei diesem Besuch ebenfalls nicht fehlen. Aber auch das Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte mit Objekten der Antikensammlung beeindruckte den Staatsmann mit bestaunenswerten Artefakten. Der Schädel des Neandertalers von Le Moustier oder Heinrich Schliemanns Trojanische Altertümer sind nur einige Objekte, die diesen Staatsbesuch gebührend empfingen.
Visit by Leonardo DiCaprio
The visit by actor Leonardo di Caprio brought a touch of Hollywood glamour to the National Museums in Berlin on 15 February 2010.The actor took time out of his schedule during the Berlin International Film Festival to enjoy a tour of the museums with his girlfriend, Bar Refaeli. Friederike Seyfried, Director of the Neues Museum, leapt at the opportunity of being able to show the couple around the world famous Amarna Collection, which includes the bust of Nefertiti, the Green Head and the Berlin Gold Hat. Afterwards, the celebrity visitor stood in awe of the Pergamon Altar, the Market Gate of Miletus and the Mshatta Façade in the Pergamonmuseum, a short distance away. Rounding off their visit, the couple were particularly impressed by the brilliant large-scale watercolour paintings of animals by Walton Ford, currently on show in the Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin. DiCaprio was familiar with many of the stories on which Ford has based his pictures and demonstrated extensive knowledge of the animals depicted in the exhibition. 'It is always nice for us to see a visitor with such good background knowledge in a subject relating to the works,' said the curator of the show, Britta Schmitz.
The Edge from U2 in the Neues Museum
A surprise visitor appeared in the Neues Museum on the morning of 6 November 2009: the guitarist from U2. The rock band U2 had given a free concert in front of the Brandenburg Gate the night before as part of the MTV European Music Awards, during which they had also received the Award for Best Live Act.Friederike Seyfried, director of the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, took The Edge on a personal tour around the museum and not only showed him artefacts of Egyptian high culture, but also told him about the eventful history of the building itself, which was nearly completely destroyed in the Second World War and has since been elaborately renovated by the British star architect, David Chipperfield. Apart from Chipperfields architectural designs, The Edge also expressed a particular interest in both the treasures from the reign of the Pharaoh Akhenaten (who placed Aten the Sun God above all the other gods of Egypt and named a new capital after him) as well as the world renowned Berlin Golden Hat.
Architectural Prizes for the Neues Museum
The reconstructed Neues Museum has recieved two accolades for its unique architecture in the spate of a month.One week before its reopening in October 2009, the Bund Deutscher Architekten (BDA) Berlin paid tribute to David Chipperfield's masterful architectural achievement and awarded the museum the 2009 BDA Prize Berlin. In their statement they said: 'On the one hand, the reconstruction of the Neues Musem stands for the city's essential characterization through cultural monuments and sites that form part of the collective memory of the capital. On the other, it stands as a convincing contribution to an approach that goes beyond pure reconstruction. For the attempt to make history visible by merely repeating the historical form, as though nothing had happened in the years in between, would be ahistorical.' Shortly before the opening of the museum building, David Chipperfield and the National Museums in Berlin were also awarded a special prize for the reconstruction of the Neues Museum by the Architecture Prize 2009. The magnificent achievement of the star architect was historically founded as follows: 'The recipient of both the prize and the special prize would not exist if it had not been for the fall of the Berlin Wall. This fact underlines the jury's decision to distinguish both works on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall.'
The beautiful one has arrived. Nefertiti back in the Neues Museum
The bust of Nefertiti was today taken with the utmost care from the Altes Museum and placed in the Neues Museum. The execution of the repositioning took place under the watchful eye of Friederike Seyfried, Director of the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, in strict accordance with the most modern principles of preventative conservation.Scientists from both the National Museums in Berlin's own Rathgen Research Laboratory and the Technische Universität Berlin were also involved in the process, alongside counterparts from the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection itself. Among the many procedures involved, the experts took dynamic oscillatory measurements before and during the object's transfer to ensure that the bust, kept in an acclimatized box, was transported as sparingly as possible. Nefertiti will be on display to visitors in the North Dome Room after the reopening of the Neues Museum on 17 October 2009. The transition to the Neues Museum heralds the return of the bust to where it was originally intended for display on the Museum Island Berlin.
The Berlin Gold Hat installed in Neues Museum
The world famous golden hat has found a new home. It has not been accessible to the public since the Museum of Prehistory and Early History closed its doors in the Charlottenburg Palace in April of this year. Today, under guidance from Matthias Wemhoff, Director of the Museum of Prehistory and Early History, and Hermann Born, restorer, the hat was taken to its future location and set in place. After the reopening of the Neues Museum on 17 October 2009, it will once again be on display for all to admire in the Sternsaal, Room 305.Golden hats were most likely used as cult objects and worn over a period of hundreds of years by political or religious leaders during ceremonial and cultural events. Only four golden hats stemming from the Bronze Age survive in Europe today. The Berlin Gold Hat is made from gold leaf, hammered until wafer-thin. The conical hat is adorned with chased patterns arranged to form horizontal bands.
Karl Lagerfeld - Photo shoot in the Neues Museum
Just a few months before its opening, the Neues Museum already achieved model status when, in July this year, Karl Lagerfeld chose to use the building (which was still nearly completely empty at the time) in a photo shoot for a special 30th anniversary edition of German Vogue.The designer was clearly fascinated by the architecture of the Neues Museum as well as by the few, largely still sealed objects which he came across in his tour of the building with Matthias Wemhoff, Director of the Museum of Prehistory and Early History. With his keen sense for beauty, he found it no great task to capture the Neues Museum's unique atmosphere. Karl Lagerfeld's captivating photographs can be admired in the black anniversary issue of German Vogue, along with a portrait of Matthias Wemhoff.
New head of the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection
In a unanimous decision during their meeting on 26 June 2009, the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage's Board of Trustees have appointed Friederike Seyfried as the future director of the National Museums in Berlin's Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection. Ms Seyfried who has a PhD in Egyptology will replace Dietrich Wildung, who went into retirement at the end of June.The 49 year old was previously the curator in the University of Leipzig's Egyptian Museum and wishes to use her new role above all to concentrate on both the systematic scientific renewal of the Berlin collection and cooperative projects with academic and nonacademic specialists. From 17 October 2009, the Egyptian Collection, whose most famous exhibit is the bust of Queen Nefertiti, will once again go on show in the Neues Museum for the first time since the destruction of the building in the Second World War.
Prince Charles on a visit to the Neues Museum
Accompanied by his wife, Camilla, on the second day of his visit to Germany, the British heir to the throne was escorted through the Neues Museum by its architect, David Chipperfield. In attendance were Michael Eissenhauer, General Director of the National Museums in Berlin, and Hermann Parzinger, President of the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage, as well as both of the museum's Directors of the Collection, Dietrich Wildung and Matthias Wemhoff. The jovial Prince Charles was glad to be shown round the individual rooms and listened with interest as the next steps in the completion of the Masterplan Museum Island Project were explained to him.A short choreographic performance from the piece 'Dialoge 09 - Neues Museum' by Sasha Waltz & Guests was put on for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in the Nordkuppelsaal - the impressive room in which the bust of Nefertiti will go on display from 16 October, when the Neues Museum will once again open its doors to the public with works from the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection and the Museum of Prehistory and Early History. After entering their names into the guest book, the couple took their leave to continue their state visit, while construction work on the Museum Island's James-Simon-Galerie, also designed by David Chipperfield and due for completion in 2013, resumed once again.
35,000 visitors turn out for the Neues Musuem's open day weekend
A total of 35,000 visitors streamed into the completed Neues Museum during its open heritage day weekend from 6-8 March. At times the queue of people eager to take a look inside stretched past the Altes Museum all the way up to Berlin Cathedral, which corresponded to a wait of up to two hours.The fifth building on the Museum Island Berlin aroused considerable interest once before in 2007 when it was opened to the public to mark the topping out ceremony, attracting some 25,000 visitors. This figure was now exceeded once again, despite the fact that for safety reasons only 1,200 people were allowed in the building at any one time. Exhibits will start being brought into place from the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, the Museum of Prehistory and Early History and the Collection of Classical Antiquities in April and will all go on show to the public again with the opening of the museum on 16 October 2009.
Ceremony marking the handing over of the key to the Neues Museum
On 5 March 2009, Wolfgang Tiefensee, the German Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs handed over the key to the Neues Museum to Michael Eissenhauer, Director General of the National Museums in Berlin.Mr. Eissenhauer thanked the architect, David Chipperfield, whose 'concept of complementary recreation fuses the lavish richness of late Neoclassicism and the historicity of Friedrich August Stüler with the sparse austerity of modern architecture to form a harmonious whole.' Praise for David Chipperfield's masterful architectural achievement was also expressed by Bernd Neumann, Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Hermann Parzinger, President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Klaus Wowereit, Governing Mayor of Berlin and Michael Petztet, President of the German National Committee of the ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites). During the open day weekend from 6-8 March, Berliners will have the chance to wonder at the rebuilt Neues Museum after its eleven-year-long construction period. The Neues Museum will open its doors once again on 16 October with exhibits from Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection and the Museum of Prehistory and Early History.