Haus der Geschichte (officially Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, i. e. "House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany") is a museum of contemporary history in Bonn, Germany. With around one million visitors every year, it is one of the most popular German museums. The Haus der Geschichte is, as well as the "Zeitgeschichtliches Forum Leipzig", the "Tränenpalast" am Bahnhof Friedrichstraße and the "Museum in the Kulturbrauerei" part of the Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland Foundation. The foundation's place of business is Bonn.
In its permanent exhibition, the Haus der Geschichte presents German history from 1945 until the present. Numerous temporary exhibitions emphasize different features. The Haus der Geschichte also organizes guided tours of the Palais Schaumburg (has been closed since August 2013 because of building restoration for estimated three years), the Chancellor's bungalow and the former place of the Federal Assembly. Moreover, the museum maintains a cartoon gallery with over 75,000 political cartoons and caricatures.
The Haus der Geschichte is located on Bundesstraße 9 and is part of the Museumsmeile (Museum Mile) in Bonn, which is part of the former West German government district. It is located north of the Kunstmuseum Bonn and the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, which are also part of the Museumsmeile. The Haus der Geschichte can be directly accessed from the subway station (Heusallee/Museumsmeile).
In his government statement of October 13, 1982, right after taking office, Chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl called for a collection of German history and the German division after 1945. He presented plans to establish a museum of German history in West Berlin, to be complemented by a House of History of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn dedicated specifically to the West German state. While some feared that a national museum would be viewed as an attempt to kindle a new nationalism, others argued that it was precisely because Germany's past was so complex and wrenching that Germans needed to understand their history. The German Bundestag confirmed the institution in 1989. Helmut Kohl opened the permanent exhibition on June 14, 1994. The first president of the foundation was Hermann Schäfer. In June 2007, Hans Walter Hütter, his long-term representative, was appointed as his successor.
The building was designed in 1985 by the architects Ingeborg and Hartmut Rüdiger from Braunschweig. Construction works began in September 1989. The building has a total floor space of around 22,000 square meters, 4,000 square meters for the permanent exhibition, and over 650 square meters for temporary exhibitions.
The independent foundation under public law, "Stiftung Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland", is owned by the public purse and financed by the Federal Republic of Germany. The four entities of the foundation are the board of trustees, the academic advisory council, the committee of social groups and the president.
The board of trustees as supervisor approves the budget and the basic program composition, and makes important personnel decisions. It is composed of representatives of the factions of the German Bundestag, the federal government, and all federal states. Since June 18, 2013, Günter Winands has been chairman of the board of trustees as successor of Ingeborg Berggreen-Merkel.
The academic advisory council (chairman Lothar Gall) advises the board of trustees and the president of the foundation as to the museum's legal mission, especially as it affects the conceptional preparation of temporary exhibitions and the content of the permanent exhibition. The academic advisory council, consisting of historians, political scientists, experts in international law and museum experts, is an important guarantor for the independence of the foundation from political influence.
The committee of social groups (Arbeitskreis gesellschaftlicher Gruppen, chairman Karl Jürsten), represents the interests of museum visitors, major religious groups, employers' and employees' associations, foreigners, women, young people, and major community authorities when advising the board of trustees and the foundation president.
The president of the foundation, Hans Walter Hütter, manages the business of the foundation and decides matters which are not the responsibility of the board of trustees.
The museum puts special emphasis on the orientation of visitors and a vivid presentation of historical events. Under the slogan “Experience History”, the concept is to draw attention to historical objects and make them come alive for visitors. This happens also through the use of historical film and sound records. While the political history of the Federal Republic of Germany and the former East Germany (GDR) is the common thread of the permanent exhibition, the presentation of everyday and cultural history also offers visitors an opportunity to deal with their own past and encourages an intergenerational dialogue. Aside from exhibitions, numerous scientific conventions and events take place at the Haus der Geschichte. An information center with a reference library affords the opportunity to enlarge upon historical subjects individually.
- Museum in the Kulturbrauerei
- Zeitgeschichtliches Forum Leipzig
- Official site