Berlin’s Buchstabenmuseum

2 December 2016

A couple of years ago I visited the Buchstabenmuseum in Berlin which was a highlight of the trip. When I returned I wrote a blog about the experience for my work’s website, so I thought I would reproduce share again...

Since writing the blog the museum as moved to a new location which hopefully I’ll visit the next time I’m in Berlin!

The Museum of Letters

Earlier this month I travelled to Berlin, with particular excitement about visiting Buchstabenmuseum (the Museum of Letters). It's housed in a fairly small building, which used to be a former GDR supermarket, but inside it's overflowing with rescued letters from various public spaces.

“The Buchstabenmuseum is typical of the metropolis: it stands for a new Berlin that is a hotspot for creative and cultured types.”

Origins

The founders of the museum, Barbara Dechant and Anja Schulze, are devoted to saving and restoring these typographic signs, as well as documenting the stories behind them. They collect individual letters, logos and pictograms in all sizes, shapes and materials. The museum also documents the history of the letters, so as to explore their ongoing development.

The Letter ‘R’

Visiting Buchstabenmuseum is certainly a unique experience. You're surrounded by eye-catching store signage in various typefaces, colours, sizes and materials. One of my favourite exhibits was a deconstructed neon sign; the letter ‘R’ shown as four separate pieces demonstrating each piece of the structure and revealing the neon gas tubes that would be inside.

19 Students’

The museum also has temporary exhibitions and I was lucky enough to see one from the Department of Communication Design of the University of Applied Sciences Berlin. It showcased the work of 19 students who captured the flavour of the museum in a small product, which were also on sale to visitors. It was interesting to see the variety of ideas from the students, from typographic chocolate to letter keyrings.

A Museum for the People

Buchstabenmuseum is a non-profit organisation and doesn't receive any public subsidies, so it's the people who visit and the volunteers who help to keep this special little museum alive. If you ever visit Berlin, be sure to put some time aside to visit!

For more information about the museum visit buchstabenmuseum.de

Quote: buchstabenmuseum.de

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