This museum has been on my list of places to visit for a while and I am delighted that we made it. We arrived when it opened at 10am which was a good move as it got very busy later on. My son enjoys museums but I don't think he has spent over three hours in one before and I think he would have stayed longer.
This is the ultimate hands on museum, everything there is for you to look at, touch and really experience.
The biggest draw for him was the Trabant that you could sit in and drive whilst watching a video of a DDR housing estate. I think we went back to this car about twenty times.
The presentation of the main exhibits is a representation of DDR prefab housing blocks.
There are drawers to open that hold real things from the era and in many cases you can get them out and touch them.
I loved this construction toy which allowed children in East Berlin to build their own prefab structure.
This drawer delighted my son - it is a DDR apartment in miniature.
And there is a life size one too. Again you can open all the cupboards, watch the TV, pick up the phone and really immerse yourself in the East German experience.
There is a lot of mixed media dotted around - listening posts (in German) of contemporary broadcasts, video screens and a little screening room running short films (again in German).
My son loved typing on this portable typewriter (which was almost identical to one I had when I was about nine).
They have used a lot of new technology in the museum to keep it interesting - above is the desk in the Party office and each item, when placed on the hidden screen on the desk, pops up an interactive screen.
There were a number of school parties in the museum when we were there and I have never seen so many young people really engaging with a historical exhibit.
The museum explores all aspects of DDR life from recreation, lifestyle, food and other consumer items, political life, prison - the list goes on. If you take time to read everything you will go away knowing all you want to about life in East Germany/Berlin and if, like me, you were enjoying through a child's eyes, they have a great book you can purchase which follows all the information in the museum.
This is the notice that greets you when you arrive and it really lives up to it. If you only visit one museum in Berlin make it this one!
Address: Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 1, 10178 Berlin
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