The New Vorderasiatisches Museum

By: Prof. Dr. Joachim Marzahn, head-curator of the Tablet Collection at the Vorderasiatisches Museum

Fig. 1Since the news was spread some time ago by Jack Sasson many may have heard that the Vorderasiatisches Museum Berlin has moved. Now it has two addresses: one address remains the Museum Island in Berlin (but now without mailbox), because the exhibition is still there and can be visited. For visitors and tourists nothing will change, but for visitors of the department, specialists etc. the following address is now important: Vorderasiatisches Museum, Geschwister-Scholl-Str. 6, 10117 Berlin.

There, in a partly newly built complex (see Figure 1) opposite the Museum Island, the archaeological departments of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – including our collection – are now housed. The offices of the administration, the workshops and depots have found a new home. For specialists there are also a large archaeological library and a private study room for cuneiform and papyrus studies (see Figure 2). The content of our depots will be shifted, but not until late 2014. Part of the collection of objects, but also the archives, are therefore temporarily not available.

Fig. 2

The relocation of VAM was necessary because a large part of the Pergamon Museum has been a construction site since the beginning of 2013. The refurbishment and completion of the work will continue until 2026 and will take place in two major sections. The part of the museum that houses the exhibition of the VAM will be closed in 2019. The VAM will not return to its former location, the museum building will then be open for visitors only.

Despite the stress associated with the move, work goes on in the museum. Specialists – after registering in advance – are always welcome, but also the special exhibitions will continue.From 25 April 2013, for three months, the Vorderasiatisches Museum will show on its premises the special exhibition “Uruk – 5000 years megacity”. In collaboration with the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums of Mannheim, the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin and the German Oriental Society (DOG), with this exhibition’s we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the German excavations at Uruk / Warka that began with a campaign in the winter of 1912-1913 and that are still not finished.

The main subjects of the exhibition are the following themes:

1. the mythical city of Gilgamesh and the story of their exploration
2. a major city around 3000 BC with the architecture and the innovations of the Uruk period
3. big city life – Uruk and its impact: urban life since then to the present time
4. a different view – the development of research on Uruk now and in the future

More than 350 objects found in Uruk and other places connected with this town will be shown. They come from Berlin, Heidelberg (Uruk-Warka collection), as well as from international lenders. Moreover, illustrations, photos, documents, models and – for the first time – digital reconstructions provide a picture of the city of Uruk and its development.

After the venue Berlin this exhibition can be seen in Mannheim in a modified and expanded form, from 20 October 2013 till 21 April 2014.

One thought on “The New Vorderasiatisches Museum”

  1. This is fantastic. I am visiting Berlin in June and I cannot wait to see the exhibit.

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