Berlin, a city known for it art scene and world class museums, needed to have something like the Buchstabenmuseum. The Museum of Letters, like it is known for some people, is place to preserve, restore and exhibit signage from Berlin and around the world. If you are a typography lover like me, you are going to love the place.
I was there back in May for the opening of On the Wall – Lettering versus Calligraphy and I manage to find time to explore the museum and I was more than happy with it. The pictures here are a few of the ones i took there. If you want to see more, you will have to go there and explore.
Exploring the Buchstabenmuseum in Berlin
The museum researches and documents the story behind the signs and it is the place to be if you care about the unique typographic qualities of those letters that survive in the rain and snow day to day on the streets. The Buchstabenmuseum was opened to the public back in 2008 and it was so popular that the museum had to move to a bigger space.
Nowadays, the museum is housed in a former GDR supermarket called Handelsorganisation next to the Jannowitzbrücke U-Bahn station in Mitte. And the place is big enough to hold the exhibition ground as well and what i called the archive, where new obtained letters arrive and are stored.
Since most of the letters exhibited at the museum were designed to be mounted on the top of buildings, viewing them up close is a different experience. Sometimes you need more space than provided to be able to see the letters in all their glory. For most people, it will be the first time they see these letters in all their details. What, sometimes, may include peeling paint, rusted metal, dead plants and even spider webs.
Seeing these letters from so close is an unusual experience that turn these letters into gateways into a not so distant past. I was glad to bring my camera with fisheye lens or else I wouldn’t be able to picture most of what I saw there.
But there are still problems there. Since the Buchstabenmuseum runs entirely by volunteers, it works under constant constraints of resources and time. And, while the increase in public meant more money, nearly all of it goes straight into rent and maintenance.
And this is why I decided to write about the museum here and help bring more people there. The price of admission is €6,50 and you will love to visit the place and see all those big letters, even if you are not a type maniac like me.
The museum is open from Thursday to Saturday from 13:00 until 17:00 and the admission price is €6,50. And don’t forget to visit the gift shop!
Holzmarktstraße 66, 10179