Sonntag, 22. Dezember 2013

A visit at the Communications Museum

Berlin has so many museums that it is difficult sometimes to decide where to go first. Almost 5 years after moving here, I have a long list of places that I want to see in the next weeks, and the Communications Museum was on the first pole position. One of the main reasons was the curiosity to see what can be hidden behind the walls of massive building, not exactly my idea of host for such a thematic exhibition. I was not the only one impressed, as the Emperor Wilhelm the IInd remarked when saw it the first time that it is made in a 'Good, pure and simply dignified style!'. As at the time the main communication was made through the postal services, the aim of the building was to present the big achievements of the Germans in this domain. After the war, it was used as the Post Museum of the GDR. 
If one visits the museum on a weekday, expect a lot of school chidren visiting the place, sometimes noisy, sometimes only interested to see how it is to play soccer funny looking robots. At the first sight, you may take them as two big vacuum cleaners. They move in the direction of the ball, but not always as fast as the children. However, the idea of playing with and against two unmanned machines create a lot of action and fun for them. 
With the exception of the robots, the rest of the exhibition follows a relatively classical line. It has over 3,000 objects, covering various stages of development of the communications. The Treasure Chamber, for instance, has a lot of remarkable items featuring stamps, old cards or the first European telephone exchange with automatic dialling that took place in 1869 in Hildesheim. From time to time, spectacular presences are waking up the visitor from the lethargy induced by too much information. It is the case with the postal carriage from 1880, reconstructed piece by piece at one of the upper levels of the building. In the corners of the building adorned with classical statues words in neon lightning were intercalated as reminders of the times we are living in.
The visitor from the 21st century should not expect many details about the modern networked societies, as it seems that the research stops at the TV era for now - even though there is a small Internet room provided. Social media aren't very popular here and one of the reason might be the long weight of too much history. Instead, one can learn how to use the Morse system and understand the intricate network of communication, made by boats, buses or air planes or the force of the steam power, not only cables sending instant e-mails from the opposite corners of the world. 
The museum is very intensive in terms of the information shared, and is useful especially for the children who grew up with Internet and modern communications in general. As a once in a lifetime cultural experiences, it was interesting for the adult in me too, mainly for the historical references and other details regarding the development of communications in Germany. 

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