The Museum of Things

My friend and former colleague from Remains, Bryn Veditz, gave me a tour of her new gig in the Museum of Things a few weeks back. She won a yearlong fellowship in curatorship/museum studies in Germany and I overlapped with her in Berlin for a few days.

The Museum Der Dinge houses, among other things, the archive of the Deutscher Werkbund, an organization founded in the early 20th century by artists, architects, and product designers intent on promoting their ideals of good design. The collection consists of everyday consumer objects (teapots, televisions, fans, souvenir mugs, stuffed animals… all sorts of things). Originally the expressed purpose of the collection was didactic. By posing DW-approved good design (plain surfaces, clean lines, mass produced) against bad design (kitch, crafty, decorated) the curators taught the public how to distinguish between the two and hopefully make the “right” decisions in their future consumption. The museum is less specific in intent and broader in interest now however. It has taken a role as a repository and interpreter of twentieth century material culture in general.

 

 

I love the museum’s “open storage” presentation of its collection. Glass fronted cases are jammed with objects grouped thematically (tools, urns, adult toys, sewing machines, etc.) but with little in the way of descriptive tagging. It’s very dense and rich.

 

 

 

I liked this set of decrepit desk lamps (unearthed from the a construction site? Remnants of a bombing? Dredged from the river Spree?)

-David Calligeros

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