The new East Wing building
Destruction of the East Wing in 1945
Near the end of the Second World War, on 3 February 1945, the Museum für Naturkunde was badly hit in a daytime air raid. A bomb went right through the insect collection on the second floor of the East Wing, took out parts of the library and one of the collection rooms on the first floor and landed in the “Anatomy Hall” on the ground floor. In doing so, the bomb damaged the building’s main support columns and the entire East Wing collapsed down to the basement.
Refurbishment of the museum
In 1995 a feasibility study was carried out for the refurbishment and reconstruction of the Museum für Naturkunde. The first phase also included rebuilding the East Wing. The new building was to house the museum’s zoological wet collections and a new state-of-the-art taxidermy studio was created on the top floor. The museum’s wet collections are of immense scientific and cultural value. However, until September 2010, they had been scattered throughout different parts of the museum. Now they have been brought together in ceiling-high fixed shelving units in five-to-six-metre-high rooms under optimised storage conditions compliant with all the latest standards in conservation and fire safety. The rooms are climate-controlled to ensure a constant temperature of 15–18ºC. Keeping the collections at these low temperatures slows down deterioration of the preserved objects, while also meeting fire safety requirements for wet collections.
Scientific collections open to the public
The new collection room on the ground floor of the East Wing has been incorporated into the public exhibition, thereby giving visitors visual access and an insight into some of the museum’s impressive wet collections.