Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s Altes Museum, completed in 1830, is one of the most important buildings of the Neoclassical era. The monumental arrangement of 18 Ionic fluted columns, the expansive atrium and sweeping staircase that invites visitors to ascend to the top, the rotunda adorned with Antique sculptures on all sides as a place to collect one’s thoughts and an explicit reference to Rome’s Pantheon: such signs of architectural refinement had previously only ever been seen in buildings designed for royalty and the nobility.

Today the museum houses the Antikensammlung (Collection of Classical Antiquities), showcasing its permanent exhibition on the art and culture of the Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans. The Münzkabinett complements this sweeping overview of classical antiquity with its display of ancient coins.

The Antikensammlung has a proud tradition spanning more than 350 years. Today, it is not only on show at the Altes Museum, it also has a special display integrated into the permanent exhibition of the Neues Museum, featuring the archaeology of Cyprus and the Roman provinces, and is a core component of the Pergamonmuseum, with its world-famous halls of Antique architecture. The main floor provides an impressive panorama of the art of ancient Greece from the 10th to 1st century BCE. The chronologically divided exhibition contains stone sculptures, vases, craft objects and jewellery in a richly diverse display structured around certain core themes. Highlights include the statue of the "Berlin goddess", the "praying boy", the "amphora of the Berlin painter" and the throned goddess from Taranto. Jewellery made of gold and silver, as well as cut gemstones form a veritable treasure vault beneath the blue firmament of Schinkel’s ceiling design. In a second "blue chamber", objects from the Münzkabinett are on display, in a selection of its most stunning pieces of ancient mintage. They range from the earliest coins from the 7th century BCE made of electrum (an alloy of gold and silver), up to coins from the Roman Empire’s crisis years in the late 3rd century CE. The more than 1300 coins on show form a body of ancient artefacts to be admired within themselves that also impressively corresponds to the art from the same epoch on display.

On the upper floor, the art and archaeology of the Etruscans and the Roman Empire are on view. The collection of Etruscan art is one of the largest anywhere in the world outside Italy; it contains such famous works as the house-shaped urns from Chiusi and the clay tablet from Capua. The collection of Roman art, meanwhile, unveils precious artefacts such as the Hildesheim silver find and portraits of Caesar and Cleopatra.

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Details

Founded: 1823-1830
Category: Museums in Germany
Historical period: German Confederation (Germany)

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Melissa Stansfield (3 years ago)
Amazing museum with plenty of English information. I also recommend getting the audio guide as I found it pleasant being able to wonder around the room and look at the different items whilst listening to the information.
Georg Baumann (3 years ago)
It is one of the less crowded museums in the island, but not a lesser attraction by any means. It hosts a remarkable collection of Hellenic and Byzantine artifacts inside the beautiful building by Schinkel. I totally recommend spending time there and this time might easily be 90 to 120 minutes if you take your time. My favorite inside: the Rotunda; the Olympic Gods with insignia.
Timothy Blick (3 years ago)
Awesome museum, try to buy tickets early to avoid a line and get the museum pass for 18 Euro. You must put your bag and jacket in the cloak room but the whole museum is heated. It's a workout in itself to do but so worth it. Wear comfy shoes.
Lizanne van Zyl (4 years ago)
Exceptional! Fantastically curated with staff that are friendly and care about the pieces in the museum. Definitely visiting again soon. Be sure to use the audio guide.
Fat Boy Hit Gym H (4 years ago)
Really nice gem in Berlin. Artifacts are in superb condition and really nicely assembled with English descriptions. Easy to read and understand and quite a lot of items from Roman empire. Preservation is really good. Better to buy a tickets for Museum Island 18.00 Euro which gives you access to all the nearby museums.
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