{Germany} Plattenbau Living at the DDR Museum

September 27, 2016

Germany

Last week, I was invited to visit the DDR Museum to view the new extension to their permanent exhibition which recently opened. I’ve written about the DDR Museum before. It’s one of the most popular museums in Berlin, and although it gets a little crowded at weekends, it’s a great museum to visit with kids. Even more so, after the recent changes.

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Previously, the museum was divided in to two key areas: the everyday side of life in the DDR, and the political side. So what’s changed? The area about the political side is pretty much as it was before. In the area about every day life, a couple of things have been removed to create a bit more space, but old favourites such as the Trabant car – with simulator ride – and the cinema corner where you can watch film clips, are as was. The biggest change, is that the replica DDR living room has been moved out, leaving a space for temporary exhibitions until the space gets further developed in a future phase two of renovations. On the day of my visit, a small temporary exhibition about DDR nurseries/kindergardens had just opened. All the things on open display can be touched, explored and played with – my kids would love it there!

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So what happened to the living room? That has moved to the completely new part of the permanent exhibition – a full replica of a DDR ‘Plattenbau’ (the name for the East German pre-fab apartment blocks that sprung up after the war). Instead of just a living room, visitors now also have a hallway, kids’ room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom to explore in addition. The experience starts when you enter the apartment via a ‘lift’, which simulates through movement that you are really going up though you actually exit on the same floor.

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In all of the rooms, there are drawers and cupboard to open, and again, anything on open display that isn’t nailed down can be touched and explored. In the kids’ room,  you can learn how to tie a neckerchief for a pioneer’s uniform, or find out about East German children’s books, TV programmes or the Bruce Springsteen concert that was popular among youths.

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In the adult bedroom, you can look through a rail of clothes which the mirror in front of you will simulate you wearing, or learn about East German sexual habits, with the information aptly projected on to the bed.

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The kitchen and living room with dining area let you role play at preparing and serving dinner, or take a seat on the living room sofa and watch some old East German TV programmes. There is also a music corner, where you can pop on some headphones and browse music and audio book recordings – you can search by artist or genre, or check out the ‘museum charts’ which are constantly updated to show what is currently most popular among visitors.

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Another cool feature was, that all the rooms have windows with a projection that makes it seem like you are looking out on to the street outside, and which can change from day to night and show different weather. During my visit, it was raining (even though outside for real it was glorious sunshine). Another fun fact – all the authentic East German wallpapers in the different rooms were chosen by letter followers of the museum vote for their favourites on social media! Finally, in the bathroom you can learn about health and hygiene habits and take a quiz to test your knowledge on the subject.

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It was great fun exploring all the rooms, and there’s so much to see and discover, watch and listen to, you’d probably need several visits to take it all in. I think my kids would absolutely love it here, considering how difficult it was to tear the older one away from just the living room on our previous visit. I will definitely be planning a return with the two of them! Many thanks to the DDR for inviting me to come along.

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2 Responses to “{Germany} Plattenbau Living at the DDR Museum”

  1. Kristi Says:

    We visited this today and it was great! The exhibits were so interactive that it almost felt like taking my 20-month-old to a children’s museum. The Kindergarten room, with its numerous toys, was obviously a bit hit with him :-) Thanks a lot for pointing us toward this exhibit!

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  1. 5 Year Berlin-iversary: Giveaway #5 | Museum Diary - October 4, 2016

    […] I had to promise it would reach its final destination, lol. Last week, I wrote about the fantastic new addition to the DDR Museum’s permanent exhibition. This week, you have the chance to win a pair of tickets to go see it yourself. Plus a great extra […]

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