Organization

Cultural Secretary Prof. Monika Grütters and the President of our Foundation Prof. Dr. Hans Walter Hütter

With four museums in three German cities, the Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland Foundation presents contemporary history since 1945. The permanent and temporary exhibitions all draw on the Foundation’s extensive collections. By preserving these objects, which include (everyday) items, media and documents, the Foundation ensures memories and cultural assets do not disappear and get forgotten.

The independent Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland Foundation was established in 1990. A unit had been set up as a dependent foundation in 1986 to start the groundwork required. In 1994, the Haus der Geschichte opened in Bonn. The branch, which is also the Foundation’s head office, features the permanent exhibition and numerous temporary exhibitions. It is the Foundation’s largest museum.

In October 1999, the Zeitgeschichtliches Forum Leipzig opened, followed in August 2011 by the exhibition in the historical Tränenpalast in Berlin. Last but not least, in November 2013 the Museum in der Kulturbrauerei opened in the Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood of Berlin.

Alongside the permanent exhibition and temporary exhibitions, the Foundation’s museums offer a diverse events programme and various educational formats for children, adults, schoolchildren and senior citizens. The museum magazine and countless books round out the services at the four branches. Moreover, the Foundation has a broad range of online projects on themes relating to contemporary history, such as websites, games and apps.

Origins

The Foundation’s history

Large contruction site: Haus der Geschichte and a new underground stop were constructed together.
Black and white photography of the museum's lobby during its contruction
Federal president Christian Wulff at the inauguration of the new permanent exhibition in Bonn in 2011.
Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder at the inauguration of Zeitgeschichtliches Forum Leipzig in 1999
Hermann Schäfer, former president of the Foundation, at the inauguration of Zeitgeschichtliches Forum Leipzig 1999
Chancellor Angela Merkel at the inauguration of Tränenpalast in 2011
Many visitors take a look at the new permanent exhibition in Tränenpalast 2011.
Inauguratin ceremony at Museum in der Kulturbrauerei 2013
Our Foundation's president Hans Walter Hütter during the inauguration of Museum in der Kulturbrauerei 2013
Origins

The Foundation’s history

The Haus der Geschichte Foundation was established in 1990 as an independent foundation. Four years later, the Haus der Geschichte opened its permanent exhibition in Bonn.

The Foundation was established in response to the first official declaration of the government under Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl dated 13 October 1982. In it, he proposed establishing “a collection on German history since 1945”. In 1983 a commission of experts was set up with four historians: Chairman Prof. Lothar Gall (Frankfurt/Main), Prof. Klaus Hildebrand (Bonn), Prof. Horst Möller (at that time in Erlangen, now in Munich) and Dr. Ulrich Löber (Koblenz). Their preparatory work laid the foundations for the Haus der Geschichte. Ideas and suggestions from over 100 civil society groups, institutions and leading members of the worlds of politics, academia, society and business were considered. The Federal Ministry of the Interior established a dependent foundation by decree in 1986 and in 1990 this was transformed into an independent foundation by an Act of Parliament.

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Haus der Geschichte
From 1986 onwards, work started on assembling a collection of historical objects in Bonn and a preparatory unit started designing a permanent exhibition. Construction work for the museum building began in September 1989. In June 1994, Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl officially opened the permanent exhibition at the Haus der Geschichte. It has been thoroughly revised twice since then.

Zeitgeschichtliches Forum Leipzig
In 1992, the mission of the Haus der Geschichte Foundation was expanded to include establishing an “Archive of German Unity” in Leipzig. The Zeitgeschichtliches Forum Leipzig thus arose in downtown Leipzig as an exhibition, documentation and information centre. It was opened on 9 October 1999, the 10th anniversary of the Leipzig Monday Demonstrations, by Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. The permanent exhibition centres on dictatorship and resistance in the Soviet Occupation Zone and Communist East Germany in the overall German and international context.

Berlin: Tränenpalast and Museum in der Kulturbrauerei
In September 2011, the Foundation opened the exhibition “Tränenpalast. Everyday Life in Divided Germany” in the historical departures hall at Friedrichstrasse railway station. In 2005, it took on the “Industrial Design Collection” with everyday objects and designer objects from the Soviet Occupation Zone (SBZ) and Communist East Germany. Parts of the collection have been on show since November 2013 in the permanent exhibition “Everyday Life in the GDR” at the Museum in der Kulturbrauerei..

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ORGANS OF THE FOUNDATION

Boards and President

ORGANS OF THE FOUNDATION

Boards and President

The Haus der Geschichte Foundation has four organs: the Board of Trustees, the Academic Advisory Council, the Working Party of Civil Society Groups, and the President.

The Board of Trustees resolves all fundamental issues relating to content, finances and staff. The Academic Advisory Council and the Working Party of Civil Society Groups advice the Board of Trustees and the President. Together they help ensure that the Foundation can fulfil its mission.

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The Board of Trustees is the Foundation’s supervisory body. It decides the budget, the fundamentals of the programmes, and on all key appointments. It is composed in equal part of members of the Bundestag, the federal government and the Bundesrat. The Board of Trustees is chaired by Dr. Günter Winands, Ministerial Director under the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

The Academic Advisory Council is made up of historians, political scientists, constitutional lawyers, and museum experts. It advises the Board of Trustees and the President, primarily as regards the conceptualization of temporary exhibitions and the substantive thrust of the permanent exhibitions in the four museums. The Academic Advisory Council is chaired by Prof. Dr. Joachim Scholtyseck

The Working Party of Civil Society Groups sees itself as critically representing the interests of visitors. It is composed of representatives of the major religious communities, of employer and employee associations, the Federal Immigration and Integration Council, the German Women’s Council, the German Sports Federation, the Association of Expellees, the German Youth Ring and the key local authority associations. The Working Party of Civil Society Groups advises the Board of Trustees and the Foundation’s President. The Working Party is chaired by Prelate Dr. Karl Jüsten.

The Board of Trustees appoints the President of the Foundation after consultation with the Academic Advisory Council and the Working Party of Civil Society Groups. The President conducts the Foundation’s business and decides on all Foundation matters to the extent that the Board of Trustees is not responsible for them. The President represents the Foundation both in and out of court.

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STRUCTURES

Areas of work and officers

Screenshot organizational chart Haus der Geschichte Foundation
STRUCTURES

Areas of work and officers

The Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland Foundation is subdivided into seven sections: Section I: Exhibitions; Section II: Communications; Section III: Collections; Section IV: Digital Services; Section Z: Central Services and Administration; and the sections for the Zeitgeschichtliches Forum Leipzig and the two museums in Berlin. The sections are subdivided into specialist units.

The Foundation is managed and legally represented by its President, Prof. Hans Walter Hütter. Prof. Harald Biermann is Deputy President and also the Foundation’s Director of Communications. Dr. Jürgen Reiche is Director of the Zeitgeschichtliches Forum Leipzig; the two Berlin museums are managed by Dr. Mike Lukasch.

Download the organizational chart here (PDF, German)

Cooperations
Master’s in Political-Historical Studies at Bonn University

Master’s in Political-Historical Studies

The Haus der Geschichte Foundation is the practical partner for the University of Bonn’s sandwich Master’s programme in “Political-Historical Studies”. The Master’s course constitutes advanced training for people in jobs relating to education in politics and/or contemporary history. The Foundation designs modules with the departments involved and holds events in Bonn and Berlin.

For detailed information on the course

Screenshot, Museums for History, German webpage

Museums for History

“Museums for History” is a network of 29 museums of (cultural) history in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It addresses the cultural identity of cities, regions and countries in a united Europe. By addressing the question of what is our “own” and what is “foreign”, it contributes to current debates in society. The Haus der Geschichte Foundation is an active member of the network.

Museums for History

Screenshot of the European Museum Council website

European Museum Forum

The European Museum Forum (EMF) is dedicated to fostering the due recognition and support of outstanding new museum projects in the Council of Europe member states. Among other things, each year the EMF bestows the prize of European Museum of the Year and submits proposals to the Council of Europe on who should win the Council of Europe’s Museum Prize. The Haus der Geschichte Foundation is a member of the EMF.

European Museum Forum

Media Libraries Network

Media Libraries Network

Netzwerk Mediatheken, the Media Libraries Network, is an association of German archives, libraries, documentation offices, media libraries and museums. The network seeks to preserve and catalogue audio-visual sources and materials and make them publicly accessible. The Haus der Geschichte Foundation is an active member of the network. Clink the link below to search the media collections of member institutions.

Netzwerk Mediatheken