BERLIN.- After two years of extensive renovation work, the Museum of European Cultures reopened this December and is again able to host exhibitions in Dahlem. The Museum of European Cultures was called into being in 1999 and was created by merging the 110 year-old Museum of European Ethnology (Museum für Volkskunde) with the European collection of the Ethnological Museum. It focuses on life-worlds in Europe and European cultural contacts from the 18th century until today. Comprising some 27,000 original objects, the museum houses one of the largest European collections of everyday culture and popular art. The topics covered by the collection are as diverse as the cultures of Europe themselves: ranging from weddings to commemorating the dead, the cult of Napoleon to Halloween, music on Sardinia, the historically pagan 'Perchten' processions in the Alps ... the list goes on and on.
Highlights will include:
• a permanent exhibition on the theme of 'Cultural Contacts - Life in Europe'
• a temporary exhibition entitled 'Explorations in Europe - Visual Studies in the 19th Century' and
• a study collection, with regularly rotating displays of groups of objects from the museum's collection.
The museum unveiled its new permanent exhibition, 'Cultural Contacts - Life in Europe', which forms a cross-section of its diverse collections and will be spread over 700 square metres of exhibition space. It tackles debates on social movements and social boundaries, for no matter where you are in the world, 'mobile' social patterns among people lead to cultural encounters, ties and mingling. Europe is an excellent example of this. Despite all their differences, Europeans have many things in common, which have arisen from many factors, ranging from cultural contacts to globalization. Besides the spread of knowledge through various forms of media, such factors primarily include encounters through trade, travel and migration, as well as missionary campaigns, war and reconciliation. With its many ties to Judaism and Islam, Christianity has decisively shaped Europe ever since the Middle Ages. The Age of the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, industrialization and the consequences of both World Wars are the key factors that continue to shape Europe today.