Local History in Marzahn

The Berlin boroughs also maintain local history museums. I went to visit the Bezirksmuseum Mahrzahn-Hellersdorf, in part because I was intrigued by a special exhibit they were running on coffee and design in East Germany. That exhibit was small, but a delight, really nicely presented, but the museum also had a permanent exhibit of local history. This as well was presented really professionally, with some artefacts, innovative ways to display posters.

[Interestingly, the exhibit included several pieces made in “Sintolan”. Even my ceramics-affin mom didn’t know that material. And, lo and behold, it’s not on Wikepedia. This is a side note, obviously, but it’s so rare to search for something and not find it on Wikipedia. A little bit of research later, it turns out that this seems to have been a brand name for sintered ceramics produced by an East German manufacture. A little more googling later, I’ve found an association dedicated to that manufacture and have emailed them to encourage them to add the term to the entry for sintering.]

Interestingly, the museum is placed in an old building right next to the village square for Marzahn which even features a Stüler-designed little church. Whereas Marzahn is generally know, perhaps even feared, for its plethora of “Platten”, the 1960s East German effort to house many people in new towns on the outskirts of town, the centre of Old Marzahn is your typical Märkisches village.

The local history museum was also quite a treat. Obviously, the designer was at the top of her/his museum-pedagogy game with very nicely designed and interesting panels that explained not only the special exhibit on East German coffee design, but also the permanent exhibit focused on Marzahn history. Who knows how many visitors this kind of museum receives and what the budget allocated to its activities are, but it is a great joy to me to have grown up in a city that does allocate funding for these kind of activities and where those who take an interest find many fascinating resources!

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