Museum Island in Berlin, Germany.
Museum Island in Berlin, Germany. Image: Bassel Khabbaz Wikimedia CC BY SA 4.0

More money, less hierarchy: a major overhaul for Prussian Cultural Heritage foundation

A government-commissioned report conducted by academics found that the Prussian Cultural Heritage foundation is “structurally overwhelmed” with hierarchy and unclear decision making and vague accountability.

The committee recommended establishment of a new foundation to manage the Berlin state museums, including the Pergamon, the Neue Nationalgalerie and the Gemäldegalerie. Running the Prussian archive, Berlin State Library and Iberian-American Institute as three separate autonomous entities was recommended.

The study also suggested more autonomy, marketing, publicity, education and fund raising for individual museums. The staffing levels were declared insufficient. It is hard for the museums “to live up to their responsibilities to the public, let alone to shine internationally” in the present conditions. Financial restructuring in the institutions would be better for the long run said the report.

When the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation was established in 1957, Berlin was a divided city. The foundation was established to oversee the city’s world-class art collections. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, its primary tasks have been to combine and rebuild the collections of East and West Berlin and change city’s museum landscape. Some of the important projects taken up were the reconstruction of Museum Island and the closure of museums in the southwestern suburb of Dahlem.

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