125 Years in the Heart of Berlin

A Photographic History of the Museum

To mark the building’s 125th birthday, the Museum of Communication Berlin is delighted to give you a rare glimpse inside its photographic archive. Historical views from the building's eventful history are on display.

Main façade of the Imperial Post Museum (1897) by Hermann Oskar RückwardtMuseum for Communication Berlin, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

Main façade of the Reichspostmuseum, 1897

Built between 1893 and 1897, the Reichspostmuseum was the central component of the Imperial Post Office complex. Ernst Hake, an architect and postal official, designed it to a brief given by postmaster general Heinrich von Stephan.

The Reichspostmuseum opened in 1898. Badly damaged in World War Two it underwent restoration works from 1958 onwards for its reopening as the GDR'S postal museum. Plans for its faithful reconstruction in the 80s suffered from delays and came to a halt after reunification.

Interior entrance (1897) by Hermann Oskar RückwardtMuseum for Communication Berlin, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

Entrance, 1897

The appearance of the planned monument to Heinrich von Stephan in the window on the left is the result of a photomontage.

Staircase with mural by Arthur Fitger (1898) by Waldemar TitzenthalerMuseum for Communication Berlin, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

Staircase, 1898

Until its loss to war damage in World War Two, the allegorical painting by Arthur Fitger could be seen above the half-landing of the staircase leading to the second floor.

Room for Foreign Exhibits (1905) by Waldemar TitzenthalerMuseum for Communication Berlin, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

Room for Foreign Exhibits, c. 1905

The "Festsaal" drew its architectural splendour from ornamental reliefs on the vaults, leaded windows, and a painting on its ceiling.

Atrium of the Imperial Post Museum, featuring monument to Heinrich von Stephan (1910) by Waldemar TitzenthalerMuseum for Communication Berlin, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

Atrium featuring monument to Heinrich von Stephan, 1910

The museum attained its prestigious feel from its historicising design, incorporating a lavish use of space.

Making ready for air raids (1940) by MSPTMuseum for Communication Berlin, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

Making ready for air raids, 1940

The museum closed its doors when World War Two broke out in 1939.  Initially, covers and matting served to protect the exhibits, most of which were later removed from the museum.

Atrium with Joseph Uphues’ monument to Heinrich von Stephan (1947) by Hugo Welle Bildarchiv für Kultur und WirtschaftMuseum for Communication Berlin, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

Atrium, 1947

The monument to Heinrich von Stephan, the museum’s founder, had been in the atrium since 1899. Later removed from the atrium, it has been missing ever since. The severe war damage the building sustained is apparent in the background.

Provisional roof over the atrium (1958) by Mielke, Institut für Post- und FernmeldewesenMuseum for Communication Berlin, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

Provisional roof over the atrium, 1958

In 1947, the museum, badly damaged in the war, had a flat provisional roof built over the atrium. In the ensuing decades, many of the building’s features located above the roof remained exposed to the elements.

Wire and plaster covering up historic features (1959) by Günter Tluste, Institut für Post- und FernmeldewesenMuseum for Communication Berlin, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

Covering up historic features, 1959

Modernisation of the museum’s interior space took place from 1959 to 1963. These works included the covering of the original structures, including their natural stone and stucco ornamentation, with wire plaster walls.

Entrance hall (1959) by Günter Tluste, Institut für Post- und FernmeldewesenMuseum for Communication Berlin, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

Entrance hall, 1959

Visitors’ eyes were drawn to a sgraffito created by Bert Heller on the right side of the entrance. 

The GDR’s Postmuseum opened on 1 August 1958 on the overhauled ground floor of the building after makeshift repairs.

Opening of a temporary exhibition in the main hall (1963) by Fred KastlerMuseum for Communication Berlin, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

Main hall after the overhaul, 1963

The remodelling between 1958 and 1963 included the creation of a mezzanine. During the works, the space’s grand architecture disappeared behind plain walls and the pillars received clinker facing.

Display of stamps in the permanent exhibition (1973) by Dieter BreitenbornMuseum for Communication Berlin, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

Display of stamps, 1973

After an overhaul of the first floor in 1963, the glass bricks fitted to the upper portion of the wall gave additional natural light to the exhibition space from the atrium behind it.

View of the exhibition space, GDR's Postmuseum (1988) by Postmuseum der DDRMuseum for Communication Berlin, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

Permanent exhibition, GDR's Postmuseum, 1988

December 1987 saw the opening of the extension, completing one of the stages of the reconstruction project; the extension housed the museum’s permanent exhibition.

Building works at a standstill (1991) by Renate Preetz, Institut für Post- und FernmeldewesenMuseum for Communication Berlin, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

Building works at a standstill, 1991

Plans for the building’s reconstruction commenced in 1981. Work began with the removal of the facings installed in 1960, followed by the actual reconstruction works, which were supposed to be complete by 1987 - but the project was beset by delays.

Explore the Atrium of the Museum!

Museum of Communication Berlin (2023-07-24) by Yves SucksdorffMuseum for Communication Berlin, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

125 Years in the Heart of Berlin.

A Photographic History of the Museum.

Exhibition in the Museum for Communication Berlin


10 September 2023 - 7 January 2024

Credits: Story


A virtual insight into the exhibition at the Museum of Communication:
125 years in the heart of Berlin. A photographic history of the museum



Text: Anke Höwing, Thomas Jabs, Corinna Klußmann
Online-Curation: Corinna Klußmann

All photos: © Museumstiftung Post und Telekommunikation

https://www.mfk-berlin.de/ausstellung-125-jahre-mitten-in-berlin/

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps