An orchestra of more than 800 instruments (of a collection of 3500) from the 16th century to the present day is on display in this museum located at Berlin’s Kulturforum (Culture Forum), behind the gleaming gold Philharmonic building. Objects include a portable harpsichord once owned by Prussia’s Queen Sophie Charlotte, flutes from the collection of Frederick the Great, and Benjamin Franklin’s glass harmonica.
From Baroque wind instruments to precursors to the synthesizer, a variety of rare and little-seen instruments from the ages fill the museum. Visitors can experience the tones of these treasures and find out their histories at listening stations and multimedia terminals. Also housed here are the Institute of Musical Research, a specialized library, and a workshop where instruments are made and restored. Tours of the collection are given on Thursdays at 6pm, and at 11am on Saturdays, ending with a performance at noon on the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ.
With 1228 pipes, 175 stops and 43 pistons, the 1929 organ, designed to accompany silent films in cinemas, is the largest of its kind in Europe. On frequent Sundays at 11am, the Museum of Musical Instruments presents “Early Music – Live” a concert series performed on original instruments.
The museum’s SIM-Café offers warm meals, cold drinks, and a place to relax.