Hanging With The Muses

It’s Saturday afternoon. I’m lying hungover in bed, head pounding, mouth dry, lamenting the passing of one of my precious days off. As the last rays of sunshine begin to fade, I haul myself out of my room and begin the long process of getting ready to leave the house again, starting with a shower. An hour later and I’m out the door, making my way not to a pub in Neukölln nor to a house party but to the Kulturforum. Yes, tonight is a different type of affair where I am laying off the sauce and instead being terribly civilized––tonight is Long Night of Museums.

Altes MuseumStanding tall: ancient art at Alte Nationalgalerie. Photo: Chris Phillips

Started in 1997, Long Night of Museums (or Lange Nacht der Museen) is a bi-annual event which includes over 75 museums and institutions across Berlin opening their doors until 2am. The theme of this Spring’s event was “diversity destroyed,” recognizing the 80th anniversary of the National Socialist accession to power and the 75th anniversary of the November Pogroms of 1938 (i.e. the series of co-ordinated civilian attacks in Nazi Germany such as the harrowing Kristallnacht).

Kulturforum Swing dancing celebrating “diversity destroyed” at Kulturforum. Photo: Chris Phillips


Instead of dwelling upon the oppression of art and culture which the Nazi’s imposed, this edition of Lange Nacht der Museen celebrated the creativity which existed before and after their reign, focusing in particular on the decadence and freedom of the roaring 20s. In this vein the Kulturforum celebrated the era with a program exploring the 1920s and 30s––on arrival I was greeted by old school jazz and swing music drifting across a packed dance floor of impeccably dressed couples, dressed to the nines in vintage attire. 


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