Today's Museum für Kommunikation Berlin was founded in 1872 as the first postal museum of the world. It was Postmaster General, Heinrich von Stephan, who initiated the building of a magnificent, representative building in Leipziger Strasse / Mauerstrasse from 1893 to 1897, which has housed the Museum from thereon. Since its opening, the Museum has lived through a chequered history, ranging from its closure during the two world wars and the damage by bombs, various stages of refurbishment, right up to the careful reconstruction based on modern aspects of monument preservation. At long last, it was opened as the Museum für Kommunikation Berlin on 17th March 2000.
With its permanent exhibition, the Museum für Kommunikation Berlin renders tangible and comprehensible the origins, the development and the future perspectives of the information society. Attractive changing exhibitions focus the view on different aspects of communication.
The communicative message shows up already on the historical facade, via the blue neon writing - a play of light with alternating words. This points to the modern contents of the Museum. 'We regard the Museum as an incitement to communicate', says Director Dr Joachim Kallinich. This does not only become visible on the facade but is also to be heard, as there is a collage of sound made up from music, language and everyday sounds installed along the building.
Three robots in the lobby area of the Museum, the architecturally impressive atrium, invite communication and interaction, saying‚ 'KOMM-REIN!' (Come in), 'ALSO-GUT!' (OK) and 'MACH-MIT!" (Join in). They welcome the visitors, tell stories of the building and invite to play games. The robots represent the educational concept of the Museum - there are playful offers along the communication gallery of the ground floor, challenging questions about the history, present and future of communication and a large selection of exhibits for experts and connoisseurs.
The play on words, started on the facade of the building, is taken up again in the atrium and points to the places and contents behind. There are 17 exhibits set in light and sound in the basement treasure vault. The exhibits comprise famous items of the collection, as for instance, the legendary Blue Mauritius as well as exhibits that have helped write the history of communication.
Six central issues in the galleries of the first and second floors spell out clearly that communication is 'a key term of the post-industrial society', says Director Kallinich. 'In the galleries for instance, we focus on the changes in perception and social interaction through telephoning. In the collection halls, on the other hand, we present the historical development of the telephone, as mass produced and popularly used cultural item.'
The computer gallery on the 2nd floor, extends the exhibition into virtual space. It is designed as a forum of communication complete with guest book and the Infothek and is supplemented by educational offers.