The Humboldt Forum is a large-scale museum project in Berlin, Germany, which will have its seat in the reconstructed Berlin Palace, located on the Museum Island. It has its roots in the Ancient Prussian Art Chamber, which was also located in the Berlin Palace and which was established in the mid 16th century. The Humboldt Forum will incorporate two of the art chamber's successor institutions, the Ethnological Museum of Berlin and the Museum of Asian Art (originally the Indian Department of the former). The project, named after the brothers Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt, aims to be a world centre for culture. The Humboldt Forum has been described as the "German equivalent" of the British Museum. Neil MacGregor, formerly the Director of the British Museum, was appointed as the founding Director of the Humboldt Forum in 2015.
(Ancient Prussian Art Chamber)
The Humboldt Forum will incorporate two existing museums, the Ethnological Museum of Berlin and the Museum of Asian Art. Both have their roots in the Ancient Prussian Art Chamber. The Ancient Prussian Art Chamber was originally established by Joachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg in the mid 16th century, but was nearly destroyed during the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648). The art chamber was rebuilt as a magnificent collection by Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, and was moved to the newly extended Berlin Palace by Frederick I of Prussia in the early 18th century. The Ethnological Museum opened in 1886 as a successor of the Ancient Prussian Art Chamber; the Museum of Asian Art originated as the Indian Department of the Ethnological Museum in 1904. Wilhelm von Bode, the Director-General of the Royal Museums in Berlin, established the Museum of East Asian Art as a separate collection in 1906. In 2006 the Museum of Indian Art and the Museum of East Asian Art were merged to form the Museum of Asian Art. From 2020 the Ethnological Museum and the Museum of Asian Art will both be part of the Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace.
On completion in 2019 the City Palace will house the Ethnological Museum of Berlin and the Museum of Asian Art, as well as two restaurants, a theater, a movie theater and an auditorium. The project is led by a three-member management committee, chaired by founding director Neil MacGregor and also including the co-directors, archaeologist Hermann Parzinger and art historian Horst Bredekamp. The Foundation for the Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace has been set up to create the museum.
Neil MacGregor has proposed to make the museum admission-free, based on the model of the British Museum.
Much like the British Museum and its controversial holding of the Parthenon Marbles and other artefacts, the Humboldt Foundation has been criticised in connection with looting and cultural appropriation.
Here are some images of the Highlights of the Humboldt Forum which will be shown there. The Ship form Luf is already in the building.
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- Neil MacGregor unveils plans for Berlin’s ambitious Humboldt Forum
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