Märkisches Museum meets Rykestraße 17

Berliners write history

How do Berliners see the city where they live? What untold Berlin stories do they have to share and what objects would they like to exhibit in the museum? And what can Stadtmuseum Berlin learn from the people who live in this city?

The residents of a typical Berlin apartment building in the Prenzlauer Berg district have set out to answer these questions. At home in Rykestraße 17 and in the Märkisches Museum, they took the time to reflect on their everyday life, their memories and their hopes for the future, and then turned their thoughts and feelings into a mini-exhibition.

Märkisches Museum meets Rykestraße 17

Eight boxes, eight stories

In her exhibition box, stage designer Katharina explores her Stasi files from the GDR era. Museum visitors can appreciate the humour in her long list of "transgressions" with a look into the elaborately designed letterbox that she created for the exhibition. Katharina's neighbours Fayzal and Annelie dedicated their box to the flat they live in. As architecture students in the 1990s, they decided to renovate the dilapidated rooms themselves when they moved in. "Today you can't even imagine what flats here in Kollwitz Kiez ever looked like", says Fayzal, who has lived in the neighbourhood for the last three decades.

A collection of photographs, composed as a mobilé for the exhibition box, show students at one of their still-legendary parties. "We had sticks of chewing gum made to serve as admission tickets", recounts Annelie. Two of these original sticks of chewing gum can be seen in their exhibition box.


Another of the eight exhibition boxes was created by the documentary filmmaker Lilian. It tells the story of DJane Merle, who was an important figure in the Berlin techno scene in the 1990s. "These days she would rather not hear about her former self. Merle has changed a lot since then", says Lilian – like Berlin itself. The exhibition boxes make it clear how much the city has changed and what those changes mean today. For Graszyna, who has lived in Berlin since the 1980s, Potsdamer Platz is a special place in this respect. What was a free-standing building until the 1980s is now surrounded by new structures.

Jewgenij, on the other hand, associates Berlin first and foremost with basketball. As a member of the U11 team of Alba Berlin, everything in his exhibition box revolves around the hoop. His club gave him active support in his search for representative items, donating merchandise and portraits of former players. The photos of pro athletes can be seen alongside one of the eleven-year-old Jewgenij in his blue and yellow team jersey. 

Until the end of February, the Rykestraße residents will be presenting their objects and stories in the museum's [Test]Spaces as part of the permanent exhibition BerlinZEIT.

Märkisches Museum meets Rykestraße 17

Shaping Stadtmuseum Berlin together

An active dialogue with the participating Berliners has made this project an exciting learning experience for the entire Stadtmuseum Berlin team – from the research volunteers, mediators and curators to the director Paul Spies himself. Spies is certain, "Participation, exchange and discourse with the people of this city are key elements for the opening of the museum. It's important to engage with Berliners on equal terms – it's their stories and perspectives that make up the lifeblood of a city museum!" With this approach, Stadtmuseum Berlin is making successful progress on its its path towards becoming a city museum for all. 

The current project Junior Curators in the Museum shares the same goal. Young people have been working together with a team of junior curator mentors from Stadtmuseum Berlin to enrich the museum's permanent and special exhibitions with their own perspectives and approaches. This contemporary form of museum work has been paying off: Stadtmuseum Berlin is receiving extensive support for the project Junior Curators in the Museum from the Berlin Project Fund for Cultural Education as part of the 2plus Funding Plan initiated in 2018. 

Berliners of all ages are invited every Saturday from 2pm to 5pm to create their own box exhibitions. Together with an art mediator, you can present your personal object and give an artistic voice to the story that goes along with it. The results will be displayed for all to see as part of the [Test]Spaces in the BerlinZEIT exhibition at the museum.

Märkisches Museum

Opening times

Closed until further notice


Adults: €5.00 / Concessions: €2.50 (incl. audio guide in English)
Free admission under 18 years

Courtyard Café

10am – 6pm, Tuesday – Sunday

Disability and access

Details at Mobidat (in German).


Am Köllnischen Park 5