Whilst researching cool, design-y type places to visit during my summer break in Berlin I somehow stumbled across one of the coolest places on the planet (well if you are a typography geek like myself that is). I had no idea that such an amazing place existed but luckily you can find everything on the net. The Museum of Letters has taken up temporary residence inside a shopping centre in central Berlin and this dinky little museum is home to hundreds and hundreds of letters.
It was founded in May 2005 by Barbara Dechant and Anja Schulze who share a passion for typography and for rescuing threatened letters from public spaces. A non-profit organisation, the museum is dedicated to preserving, restoring and exhibiting signage from Berlin and around the world. As globalization has taken hold, many small family-run businesses have been hit hard and have unfortunately been forced to close their doors. As these small businesses disappear so too do their unique signs, only to be replaced by the increasingly standarised, often digital signage, which lacks any sense of real character or regional difference. And it is this that the museum is hoping to preserve these historic artefacts as a document of language, typography, advertising and urban history.
Once inside the Museum you are surrounded by letters in all sizes, fonts and colours and some are even illuminated. For the most part, each letter or word is accompanied by an information panel containing information that the museum has researched and documented and that details the stories behind the signs and the unique typographic qualities of the letters as well as delving into the manufacturing process. I loved the way that the letters were also placed inside smaller little rooms gathered by colour; there was a red room, a blue room and a yellow and green room.
Next time you are in Berlin I definitely recommend you take the time to visit this amazing little museum. Even those of you who don’t normally prioritise museums at the top of your to do list will definitely appreciate a visit to the Buchstabenmuseum. If you love design, appreciate typography and have an interest in advertising, this is a must-visit museum. See details at the bottom of the post to help organise your visit.
UPDATE: The Buchstaben Museum is now situated in a new venue. See details below:
Address: Holzmarktstraße 66, 10179 Berlin-Mitte
Getting There: S+U Jannowitzbrücke
Opening Times: Thu–Sun 1–5pm
Cost: 6,50 / 3,50 Euro