Berlin is known for taking its time with construction projects, but this might be the record. On Monday, 23rd October, the Pergamon Museum will close its doors for a massive fourteen-year-long refurbishment.
Renovations have already been underway in the North Wing and central area, but the museum won’t be opening in its entirety until spring 2037.
The first phase of the Pergamon’s renovation starts this Monday. This will see the museum completely shut for 3 and a half years. Once renovation work is complete, the Pergamon will reopen its North Wing, which houses the Museum for Islamic Art, The Museum of the Ancient Near East, the Antique Collection and the popular Pergamon Altar and Ishtar Gate.
Then, visitors can look forward to a new exhibition at the Museum of the Ancient Near East, featuring sculptures from the ancient cities of Ashur and Tell Halaf. The Museum of Islamic Art will be back with its impressive collection of architectural reconstructions, including the Aleppo Room and Mshatta Façade. And of course, museum-goers will also be able to visit the famous Pergamon Altar.
But it doesn’t stop there. Once the work on the North Wing is complete, attention turns to the South Wing. Renovations here are needed urgently, according to a spokesperson from the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Large sections of this part of the Pergamon building are in very poor condition.
This work has been a long time coming. Apparently, some of the building’s priceless artefacts were at risk of damage due to the condition of the facilities.
Not all of the work done over this massive 14 year undertaking will be restoration, though. There are ambitious plans to construct an entirely new fourth wing, as well as a so-called Archaeological Promenade; an impressive underground pathway connecting the various archaeological museums of Museum Island. There are also plans to refurbish outdoor facilities and rebuild the ‘Pergamonsteg’, a bridge which once crossed over the Kupfergraben, connecting the Pergamon with Friedrichswerder.