The Archives of the Akademie der Künste

The Archives of the Akademie der Künste (Academy Archives) are considered the most important interdisciplinary archives for modernist art and culture in German-speaking countries. The Archives are entrusted with the core task of acquiring important art and cultural history archives, as well as collections and art works from all areas of art after 1900, cataloguing them and preparing them for access by a scholarly and interested audience.

The extensive programme of exhibitions, events (opening of archives, lectures, readings and concerts) and publications offer an insight into the wealth of the holdings. These activities are also supplemented by various work and research projects on the holdings as well as cooperations with research associations, working groups and online portals. In addition, the Archives also incorporate the two museums of the Brecht-Weigel Memorial Centre and the Anna Seghers Memorial Centre.

The particular quality of the Archives lies in its interdisciplinary collection profile and links to the vibrant society of members making up the Akademie der Künste, an institution that can look back on a tradition of over three hundred years. Since the Akademie der Künste comprises six Sections for members, the Archives also follow that structure with archival departments for the Visual Arts, Architecture, Music, Literature, the Performing Arts and the Film and Media Arts. The acquisition policy is guided by the key principle of the reciprocal interplay and dialogue between the arts. The holdings of the Art Collection, the Historical Archives, with its administrative files, and the Library, embracing all departments, stretch back to the era of the Prussian Akademie der Künste.

The collections comprise over 1100 individual archives of artists from all sectors of the arts, and include many archives from Akademie members, the holdings of 45 institutions and associations, as well as 70 themed collections. In the Reading Rooms, databases and online catalogues, readers can access 12,000 linear metres of unique archival materials, approx. 1,500,000 photos, a library of 600,000 media items, 25,000 sheets of stage and theatre graphic works, 200,000 building plans, 45,000 analogue media items (records, tapes, audio cassettes and videos) as well as 8,000 digital sound and image carriers, 75,000 art works (primarily works on paper) and around 40,000 posters.

Irgendwo auf der Welt, Historische Aufnahme mit den Comedian Harmonists, Schellackplatte der Firma Electrola GmbH (1932), Musik: Werner Richard Heymann; Text: Robert Gilbert; Foto: Werner Richard Heymann, 1930 © Fritz Eschen, Akademie der Künste, Sammlung Audiovisueller Medien