Germany: memories of a nation – Exhibition at the British Museum

VW Beetle
With the first prototype built in 1935, the Volkswagen Beetle, ‘Käfer’, has remained a design icon and one of VW’s most famous cars until today.

From the 16th of October 2014 until the 25th of January 2015 the British Museum invites its visitors to take a tour across 600 years of German history, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and Germany’s reunification. Whilst displaying German art by Dürer, Holbein and Richter the exhibition also presents more technological achievements ranging from Gutenberg’s printing press to Meissen porcelain, the Bauhaus movement and modern design icons such as the famous VW Beetle.

Overall Germany: memories of a nation features 200 objects selected to reflect on a number of key themes: floating frontiers; empire and nation; arts and achievement; crisis and memory. Focusing on a key period from the 15th Century to the present day the exhibition tries to examine the central moments that have defined Germany’s past, it’s great, world-changing achievements as well as its devastating tragedies, and explores the profound influence that Germany’s history, culture and inventiveness have had across Europe.

Germany: memories of a nation is an attempt to present a Germany that goes beyond WWI and WWII, an attempt that seems to have the right timing considering that German-British relations in the frame of the European Union have become as significant as ever.

‘We are a people’: Banners like this, calling for Germany’s reunification, were brought to the famous Monday Demonstrations in East Germany at the end of the 1990s.

An accompanying podcast to the British Museum exhibition, directed by British Museum director Neil MacGregor himself, can be downloaded from the BBC Radio 4 website.

The exhibition is sponsored by Betsy and Jack Ryan. With support from Salomon Oppenheimer Philanthropic Foundation.

Kira Raebel

credit to The British Museum