DDR Museum, Berlin

Well, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to share with you a highlight from my trip to Berlin.  If you want to visit a Museum with a retro feel, this one has it in spades.

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A ‘typical’ flat in East Germany

The DDR Museum tells the story of life in East Germany, both its good points and its bad.  I found this fascinating, being of the age that I can still remember East/ West Germany.  Many of the exhibits brought me back to my childhood in the 1980s, albeit with a twist of East German culture, that made it familiar but different.

The Museum is an interactive environment.  One of the first exhibits is a Travant, that you can drive.  On the windscreen is a digital street scene of Berlin, and by driving the car, you’ll able to drive around the streets.  Naturally, it was very busy, so I missed out on my chance to drive a travant!

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The Puppet State Machine

One of my favorite items was the puppet slot machine.  It featured the four main parties in the DDR.  With one handle you changed the question to ask how they voted, then pulled the handle at the side and the puppets would all raise their hands to how they had voted.  This was a very clever way of demonstrating a puppet state.

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Listening in on the neighbours!

Another highlight was some of the room scenes.  I enjoyed the room showing all the state monitoring of everyday life, but the highlight was reaching the flat.  You walk through a lift into the flat which is laid out as a typical flat would have been in East Germany, with living room, kitchen, bathroom, main bedroom and kids bedroom.  You’re encouraged to open doors and cupboards, listen to the telephone, sit on the sofa and watch TV.  It was a great way of talking about life in the DDR.

 

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Children’s Bedroom in the flat

The only fault I could pick with it was the annoying school party and I say that as someone in the heritage profession that loves schools.  There was a group of pupils that arrived about the same time as us and were taken around in a tour.  Sadly in a Museum with narrow areas this led to other visitors often being stuck behind them.  I also felt for the kids, its a great interactive museum and is designed to engage, let the exhibit do the talking.

So if you find yourself in Berlin, I would consider this a must.  Tickets are available online 8.50 Euro for adult, 5.50 Euro concession.  We bought ours at the desk and didn’t need to queue, but it was off-season.  For more information see: www.ddr-museum.de/en

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