Permanent Exhibition

permanent exhibition

in short

The »Musikinstrumenten-Museum Berlin« collects instruments of the European classical music tradition from the 16th to the 21th century. At this time the museum owns nearly 3.200 instruments, many of which are playable. About 800 instruments are on display in the permanent exhibition.
Organ by William & John Gray (Bath) for Bathwick, St. Mary's Church, about 1815-1820
© Anne-Katrin Breitenborn

Visitor entrance

Museum of Musical Instruments
Ben Gurion Straße (vis à vis Sony-Center)
10785 Berlin

Detailed information about the museum on


in detail

Focal Points of the Collection:
Harpsichords of the Flemish instrument-making family Ruckers: With their vigorous and flexible sound and their rich painting the Ruckers harpsichords from the first half of the 17th century are a special attraction for both the ears and the eyes.
Quilled Keyboard Instruments and Clavichords: Prior to the invention of the fortepiano, harpsichords and clavichords were the main stringed keyboard instruments from the 16th to the 18th century - even though their sound generation differed fundamentally.
Baroque Wind Instruments: Oboes instead of shawms - at the end of the 17th century a sound ideal for woodwind instruments was established that remains valid to this day.
Italian Master Violins: The most resounding names of violin making come from Cremona: Amati, Guarneri and, last but not least, Antonio Stradivari.
Master Violins from Workshops in the Northern Alps: Stradivari's violins haven't always been considered the ne plus ultra: Until around 1800 some violins from the Northern Alps were even more popular.
Instruments of the Viennese Classical Period: In Haydn's and Mozart's times instruments like the fortepiano or the clarinet had their final breakthrough, thereby influencing the music of Viennese Classicism.
Instrument Making in Berlin: Bechstein's pianos and grand pianos, Möckel's violins, Moritz’ brass instruments - instrument making in Berlin has a rich and multifaceted tradition.
The Revival of Harpsichord Making: While the crowds were admiring the Eiffel Tower at the world's fair in 1889, musical experts were amazed at the three newly constructed harpsichords from Parisian workshops.
From Musical Box to Orchestrion: Their information memory are pins and holes which makes mechanical musical instruments a true forerunner of the digital age.
Electronic instruments: Instruments like the Hammond organ or the trautonium are immediately associated with film music and jazz. Electronic instruments dominate popular music and are inherent parts of our life.

Highlights of the collection:
The Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ:Rolling thunder and bird’s twittering, siren’s wailing and chimes - the sound effects of one of the biggest European theatre and cinema organs is quite impressive.
Wind Instruments from Naumburg: A unique collection of rare Early Baroque wind instruments from the Stadtkirche St. Wenzel in Naumburg.
The »Bach-Harpsichord«: An instrument with showcase qualities: Did Johann Sebastian Bach himself play on this harpsichord?
Transverse Flutes once owned by Friedrich II: Truly royal instruments: Music enthusiast Friedrich II of Prussia adored his transverse flutes.
The Clavecin brisé: To fold up and to take away - a rarity at the Prussian court.
The Glass Harmonica: Benjamin Franklin, the famous physicist and politician, not only invented the lightning conductor but also the glass harmonica.
The »Weber-Fortepiano«: Carl Maria von Weber composed his »Freischütz« on this fortepiano from the Vienna workshop of Joseph Brodmann.
The Gray-Organ: For organ enthusiasts: an English master instrument from the early 19th century.

The history of instrument making is full of rarities and oddities. There are some of the curiosities of our collection:
Wurstfagott (sausage bassoon) and Büchsentrompete (box trumpet): Where to put the often extensive tubes of wind instruments? Simply to put them in a box was a common solution throughout the 17th century!
Nähtischklavier (sewing table pianos) and Walking Stick Instruments: The walking stick becomes a violin and the sewing table transforms into a piano – instruments symbolise the lifestyle of the Biedermeier period.
The Aeolian Harp: »My song, to faint Aeolian murmurs turning, Sways like a harp-string by the breezes fanned.« While Goethe wrote these lines, he did not have an imaginary sound in his ear, but a real instrument.
The Arpeggione: An experiment in instrument making probably long forgotten, had Franz Schubert not composed a sonata for arpeggione.
6,00/3,00 EUR
Bereichskarte (Area Pass) Kulturforum 12,00/6,00 EUR
The exhibition venue on google maps:


Opening Times

10:00 - 17:00
09:00 - 17:00
09:00 - 17:00
09:00 - 20:00
09:00 - 17:00
10:00 - 17:00
Special Opening Hours 2015

April 3rd: 10.00 a.m. – 5:00 a.m.
April 4th: 10.00 a.m. – 5:00 a.m.
April 5th: 10.00 a.m. – 5:00 a.m.
April 6th: closed

Labour Day
May 1st: closed

Ascension Day
May 14th: closed

May 24th: 10.00 a.m. – 5:00 a.m.
May 25th: closed

German Unity Day
October 3rd: 10.00 a.m. – 5:00 a.m.

December 24th: closed
December 25th: closed
Dezember 26th: 10.00 a.m. – 5:00 a.m.

New Year's Eve
December 31st: closed - The exhibition portal for Europe