Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city’s creative arts have taken center stage. Perhaps this is due to the fact that for so long the residents of East Berlin couldn’t express themselves freely, or maybe it’s the cheap rent that attract so many artists to the city – whatever the reason, Berlin just seems to embrace the creative, the avant garde, the quirky and even the downright strange. One way to experience the quirky side of Berlin is to visit some of its unusual museums. Here are a few worth checking out.
1) Medical History Museum
A medical history museum may not sound all that strange – the advances in medicine are worth remembering, and it’s interesting to look back at how diseases were treated throughout the ages. However, it’s the exhibits on display here that make this museum one step beyond ordinary. In addition to medical artifacts used over the years, the museum also displays a few more grisly items, such as giant tumors, malformed embryos and other medical anomalies preserved and displayed for those with an interest in anatomy, and a strong stomach.
2) Deutsches Currywurst Museum
If there were an official food of Berlin, it would be the currywurst, a bratwurst served on a bun and topped with a mix of ketchup and curry powder. An acquired taste for sure, this culinary delight (to some) even has its own museum. There’s a snack bar, a map of all the currywurst outposts in Berlin and even a recreation of the kitchen where the currywurst was originally created. And of course, there’s plenty of currywurst–themed merchandise to buy – from currywurst t-shirts, to aprons and cooking utensils.
3) Sugar Museum
Who knew something as simple as sugar could be worthy of its own museum? As it turns out, this common crystal has a pretty interesting past; from the early days when it was brought to Europe via the slave trade to modern production, the history and future of sugar is examined in depth.
4) Museum of Extraordinary Things
For those who believe that even the smallest of items may tell amazing stories, the “Museum der unerhörten Dinge” (Museum of Extraordinary Things) will be a true delight. The exhibits focus on small, everyday or often-overlooked items and examine the stories (some real, some imagined) that each one can tell. If you’re the type of person infuriated by abstract art, the museum may not appeal to you, but if you like to consider the many ways that simple items can change the people and things around them, this whimsically imaginative museum may be a highlight of Berlin.
5) Museum of Letters
Along a similar vein, the Buchstabenmuseum (Museum of Letters) looks at simple things around us that we may take for granted. But unlike at the Museum of Extraordinary Things, the objects are stripped of their stories at the Museum of Letters. Though the letters may have been taken from significant places – like the neon tube letters of the former GDR broadcasting building – they are presented simply as they are, with no connection to their history. Instead they are just works of typographical art.
The Berliner Unterwelten, an underground museum, is located at the Gesundbrunnen S Bahn stop in ‘Bunker B’ and presents the city’s story of civil defense during wartime. It was a darker time in Berlin’s history, but the museum doesn’t gloss over it, instead it honestly depicts its less-than-proud moments. The museum was even instrumental in making reparations to former forced laborers whose names were discovered at the site.
7) Ramones Museum
While fans of the band might not find a museum dedicated to the Ramones to be all that unusual, it does seem a bit out of place when you consider that the Ramones were neither from Germany, nor did they spend an extended amount of time in Berlin. Rather, a dedicated fan who lived in Berlin decided to open up the museum, which details the band’s history with plenty of artifacts and photos, and now the museum has become somewhat of a pilgrimage for the band’s biggest fans.
- Viator Travel Team