Berlin’s Pergamon Museum to Close until 2019, Joining Neue Nationalgalerie in Renovations

Berlin’s most prominent cultural and tourist attraction, the Pergamon Museum, will partially close for five years of renovation.

Berlin’s most prominent cultural and tourist attraction, the Pergamon Museum, will be partially closed for five years of renovation. In the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation’s annual report released on Tuesday, president Hermann Parzinger announced the closure, which will begin on September 29th of this year. By 2019 the northern and central halls of the museum should reopen. These halls contain its most prominent exhibits, among them the monumental Pergamon alter and other friezes taken from the site in present day Turkey. Work on the southern wing and construction of a fourth wing will then commence and will foreseeably carry on through 2025 or 2026.

More than 1.3 million visitors passed through the Pergamon Museum’s doors last year. That makes the institution both the most popular on Museum Island and in Germany as whole. The decision to close the museum was not taken lightly, according to Parzinger, who noted that it is the biggest and longest lasting construction project the Museum Island has yet to undertake. Visitor numbers will undoubtedly fall during this period. However, to minimize the closure’s impact, the foundation plans to collaborate with artist and architect Yadegar Asisi on a new commission. Known for his photographs and videographic panorama installations, Asisi previously presented the “Pergamon Panorama” in 2011-2012. The new work will include the museum’s most noted artifacts from the site, including the Telephos Frieze and is expected to open at the beginning of 2016 in a yet-to-be revealed location near the museum.

The Pergamon is not the only Berlin museum on which renovations will begin this year. The city’s prized Neue Nationalgalerie will close at the end of 2014. David Chipperfield Architects were contracted to restore the Mies van der Rohe building over a period of three years. Additions to the building which has not been modernized since its construction 40 years ago include an updated fire and security systems as well as strengthening of its basic structure. Chipperfield previously handled the much-lauded renovation of Berlin’s Neues Museum. While closed, portions of the Neue Nationalgalerie’s collections will be shown in a temporary exhibition at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Parzinger announced in his briefing.

The report also reveals another year of closure for the Museum Berggruen, located in Berlin’s west. Faults were found in the roof three months after the museum reopened in July of last year.

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