Berlin museums for kids – planning my 2015 trip to Germany, with help

I’m busily planning for our next trip to Europe in the middle of this year, and I’m very excited that it will include a chance to return to Berlin, one of my all-time favourite cities (potentially my favourite city in the world – I’ll test that theory out this trip).

I’ve visited Berlin numerous times but never with a child. One of the reasons we decided to stop by this time was to take my son to the Egyptian Museum because he has a strong interest in ancient Egypt – and that got me to wondering about other museums this wonderful city has to offer. I got in touch with Jenni from the gorgeous Museum Diary site – she’s based in Berlin so is a definite expert in Berlin museums, plus she has a son a similar age to mine, so I knew I could ask her ALL the questions I had.

Berlin museums for kid

Berlin museums for kids: Images from Museum Diary

Museums and sausages: Will we love the Currywurst Museum?

Amanda: My trip to Europe next year seems to have a sausage theme as I’ve been told that Iceland has the world’s best hot dogs, and I already know I love Currywurst: but my big question is, will we love the Currywurst Museum? It’s new to Berlin since my last trip and I want to know, is it just a gimmick or is it a worthwhile place to visit?

Jenni: I have a soft spot for museums that are a little out of the ordinary, and the Currywurst Museum definitely fits the bill. Some sceptics feel it’s more of a gimmick than a proper museum, but they’d be doing it an injustice. Fast food is part of our social history after all, so it makes sense to have a museum about the topic.

It’s actually very educational. Visitors can not only find out everything there is to know about Currywurst, but also about the history of fast food culture in general – in a fun and multi-sensory way by looking, listening, touching, playing, smelling and even tasting!

Berlin Currywurst Museum

Berlin Currywurst Museum – images from Museum Diary

A nice little additional feature is the ‘ketchup splatter’ kids’ trail. I’d wholeheartedly recommend this museum to anyone looking to do something a little different on their visit to Berlin. Show the critics that they’re wrong and head for a great day out!

Amanda: I’m so pleased to hear that it’s well worth the visit – I can’t wait! Jenni has a detailed review over on her blog – have a read of her More than just a sausage post.

Berlin’s Egyptian Museum and its mummies

Amanda: I’ve “sold” Berlin to my son on the basis of the Egyptian Museum but when I read up on it I’m a bit confused about the current status – are there still some renovations and rebuilding going on at Museumsinsel? Is the Egyptian Museum in a new location (I visited it back in 1990!). And my son would like to know if it is home to an Egyptian mummy (the internet suggests the answer is no?)

Jenni: The Museumsinsel is home to five different museums and there are currently a lot of building works and renovations going on as part of a larger ‘Masterplan’ for the modern development of the museum complex as a whole. The museum mostly affected at the moment is the Pergamonmuseum, parts of which are now closed until 2019.

However, the ‘Ägyptisches Museum & Papyrussammlung’ (Egyptian Museum & Papyrus Collection) is situated within the ‘Neues Museum’, where it moved alongside the ‘Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte’ (Museum of Prehistory and Early History) in 2009.

Unfortunately, there are no actual Egyptian mummies on display there – just a Roman one and some animal mummies – but you will find an extensive collection of impressive sarcophagi, burial chambers and other treasures, and, of course, the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti is a ‘must see’!

Amanda: Got it! No wonder I was a bit confused. My son will be a little disappointed that there aren’t any Egyptian mummies there – although he has already made his own so he’ll probably be satisfied with the alternatives.

The sober side of Berlin museums for kids

Amanda: Berlin is home to some sobering museums; I remember for example the Memory Void of the Jewish Museum which had a very long effect on me. Can you recommend a historical museum that is appropriate for a five-year-old boy?

Jenni: It’s funny you should mention the Jewish Museum, as it’s actually in my elder son’s Top 3 museums in Berlin! Many people mistake it purely for a Holocaust Museum, and while it of course addresses this terrible and sobering part of history, there’s the remaining two thousand or so years of Jewish history to explore too.

If you feel your child is too young to deal with the topic of the Holocaust, then you can head straight for the permanent exhibition on the upper two floors, which have many elements built in that will capture children’s attention: e.g. puzzles, a wishing tree, tunnels to explore, a drawing station and a school room, a synagogue building activity, a moustache mirror, feely boxes, and a cubby hole under the stairs with a fun surprise! We recently made a short film showing just how much fun a four-year-old can have at the Jewish Museum.

Let’s visit the Jewish Museum Berlin! from Jenni Fuchs on Vimeo.

 

Fun Berlin museums for kids

Amanda: And finally – this is my first trip to Berlin with a child in tow. Can you recommend a really fun museum in Berlin that my son will enjoy?

Jenni: Impossible to narrow it down to one, so I’ll share my son’s other two favourite museums with you. At the ‘Deutsches Technikmuseum’ (German Museum of Technology) you will find many different vehicles to view, his favourite being the cars!  Alongside the cars, children seem to get particularly excited about the ships, aircraft and engine shed. When the weather is nice, the museum park offers a green oasis in the middle of the city, and since the Spectrum Science Center re-opened on the museum site – admission gets you access to both – it’s almost worthwhile spending a whole day there.

Amanda: Oh yes! I remember visiting the Deutsches Technikmuseum – it’s incredible! Definitely putting that one on the list.

Deutsches Technikmuseum

Deutsches Technikmuseum – image from Museum Diary

Another favourite destination for us is the Museum für Naturkunde (Natural History Museum). For small and big natural history fans alike, the Dinosaur Hall is the absolute highlight. There you can marvel at the world’s biggest mounted dinosaur skeleton, and bring the dinosaurs back to life via the ‘Jurascopes’. We also like lying together on our backs and watching the multimedia installation, which takes you on a journey through the cosmos.

Amanda: Thanks so much Jenni for your expert insights – I have now filled up our Berlin plans with your suggestions and I’m sure we’ll have a wonderful stay (and perhaps we can visit one of them together!). Readers, if you have any more questions about Berlin museums, hop over to Jenni’s site or ask her in the comments here. She’s such a great source of knowledge!

 

More about Jenni: Jenni Fuchs is a passionate museologist and currently lives in Berlin with her husband and two sons. On her blog www.museumdiary.com she invites her readers to explore museums around the world they never even knew they wanted to visit. She is a big advocate of taking kids to museums from a young age, and has taken both her boys with her since they were just a few weeks old.

Comments

  1. Thank you for the inspiring article / interview – I definitely have to visit those museums as well 🙂 Have a great trip to Berlin!

  2. Oh, Berlin, I’m so excited for you and what an awesome collection of Museums, Currywurst and all x

  3. So glad I found this post – we are heading to heeling in February for five days with our two kids and it’s great to see your kid-friendly suggestions! Can’t wait.

    • Glad to hear it will be useful Lesley! Berlin is such a great city for all ages. I’d also add that a walk along the East Side Gallery where the remaining (colourful!) parts of the wall are is essential – that was one of my son’s favourites.

  4. oooow, definitely will put museum trip to Berlin with my son this year ^^, thanks..

Trackbacks

  1. […] Towards the end of last year, Amanda Kendle from the blog Not a Ballerina: A Traveller and a Thinker contacted me to say she was planning a trip to Berlin with her son this summer, and could she ask me some questions about visiting museums in Berlin with kids. Of course I said yes! The interview is now up on her blog, and you can read it here: Berlin museums for kids – planning my 2015 trip to Germany, with help […]

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