I’ve been to Berlin several times in the last 5 years, even had a internship during a winter in a communication company, but I had never been to the Museum Island. I used to catch a train that would pass right in front of it and it always made me think that I should go there but for some reason I never did. This was until now at my last trip to Berlin! I thought I show you what I did and where I went.
Museum für Naturkunde ( Natural History Museum )
I will already say that I know the Natural History Museum is not part of the Museum Island, but if was the first one I went. All I knew is that they had a T-Rex fossil, and besides that I was pretty oblivious. The entrance area is amazing, there they have skeletons of three other dinosaurs: a Brachiosaurus, a Kentrosaurus, and a Elaphrosaurus. The light is very dreamy and almost how I pictured a real life Jurassic Park entrance to look like. The T-Rex room was a bit disappointing for me: the walls were black and dark with dramatic lighting, really going for the scary Hollywood cliché. Also, the darkness made it hard for me to sketch.
In general the rooms in this museums are really well curated. They have a permanent exhibition of precious and semi-precious rocks that is really stunning. When I was there, they were putting up a temporary exhibition of calligraphy that also seemed beautiful even before it was all finished. If you have the time also see the taxidermy collection that is incredible and really well presented.
Right after the N.H.M. I went over to the Museum Island thinking of going to the Alte National Galerie, which was closed. With so many museums around I just went for my second option, the Pergamon Museum even though it had a 1 hour waiting line. The Pergamon Museum was going through renovations on some of their best halls, but I still saw many of their artefacts in the other rooms. Besides the Babylon Gates that were really stunning, and the amazing works with floor tiles and ceramics, I was not that excited about it. I think I will go back whenever they are completely open again and see if I change my mind.
Alte National Galerie
All the feels for this one! If you love Romantic and Impressionist oil paintings, landscapes, portraits, and sculptures, this place is heaven. It also helps that the whole mood of the building seems like out of a Wes Anderson movie. Take a special look at their shop on the way out, they have really nice posters and postcards from the artworks exhibited. Also, their ceilings are stunning too!
I went specifically to see the Nefertiti bust, but ended up really enjoying the other exhibitions as well. A lot of Ancient Egypt art, thumb stones, sculptures and artfacts that are really well curated and presented. Really loved wandering around, and I definitely took much more time than I expected. The Nefertiti room was very beautiful, but no photos allowed ( for obvious reasons ), so I took my time and did a small sketch of the scene.
I didn’t have the time to go to the other museum in the island this time, the Altes Museum, or to visit the Cathedral of Berlin, but this will hopefully be done on the next travel.
Overall, if have to choose only one museum inside the island I would probably go for the Alte National Galerie but it really makes sense to do more than one in the same day ( there are special and cheaper tickets in this occasion ). Plus, leave some time to wander around the buildings, there are lovely parks, walkways and a beautiful fountain for whenever you need some fresh air.
If you liked the Berlin Map I did to illustrate this post, you can get it on my online shop