The interior of the museum itself is dark and concrete which appropriately sets the tone for what you are about to see. Kitschy is a word that can be used to describe many of the exhibits in the museum (and I say this in the best way). An ubiquitous Trabi was meant to be sat in and "driven" through the streets of East Germany. Every day life is portrayed through the model kitchen, living room and bathroom in the museum. The appliances, furniture and accessories looked remarkably similar to those in my own American grandparents home. The avocado green and gold of the 1970s? Yes, the East Germans lived with that too. And the bathroom? It wasn't American at all and could only be described as functional but it did look awfully similar to many that I encountered in 2012 Albania. (Powder blue). Sidney was especially taken with the rotary telephone. He eagerly sat on the scratchy plaid sofa and dialed and chattered into the phone. He only stared at me in disbelief when I explained to him that that type of telephone was the one I grew up with. The manuel typewriter was another novelty for a boy who is
|The novel rotary telephone
But there were obvious differences between life in the west and life in the east. The food that was available for purchase was limited, involved queueing for hours and in the end was pretty unappetizing. Essentially every aspect of life was dictated by Moscow. There were sparsely filled wardrobes displaying the "fashions" of the time. None were fashionable by any stretch of the imagination and even during a time when polyester was all the rage, these man made materials were enough to make my skin crawl. But these fashion options were deemed appropriate by Moscow so that is what was available. There was the vacation display showing happy families cavorting in the buff at the beach, playing tennis or simply lounging. The first thought that entered my mind was that such a display would be deemed pornographic and simply not be allowed in any American museum. Sidney actually spotted the display before I did. He paused, looked at it then turned and told me that all of the people were naked. His only other commentary was that it was silly to play tennis without clothes. That was that. One exhibit focused on women's reproductive health which seemed to be quite advanced for the time and in many senses was ahead of where the U.S. is today.
|Gas up your Trabi, grab you atlas and hit
the road through these countries
And there are so many more things to see and explore here. Overall this museum is compact but every space is dedicated to portraying an aspect of daily life in East Germany. Our visit was interesting, I learned a few new things and it was the perfect place for younger kids to have a hands on exploring experience. And for what is a relatively low price when compared to so many museums, spending an afternoon at the DDR Museum is well worth the time and expense.
If you go:
+ 49 30 847 123 73 - 1
Open daily 10.00-20.00, Saturdays until 22.00
Adult 7 Euro, Children 4 Euro
Lockers are available but bring change since they won't make it for you. There is also a restaurant on site. Eat outside overlooking the Cathedral and river if possible.