Haus der Geschichte in Bonn
Haus der Geschichte (officially Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, i. e. "House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany") is a modern history museum in Bonn, Germany. Located on the Museumsmeile (Museum Mile), the museum has exhibitions related to German history from 1945 until the present. The museum has a cartoon gallery with over 75,000 political cartoons and caricatures, and in the foyer there are also busts of famous politicians. The museum's collection includes a large part of illustrator Helmuth Ellgaard's works.
The Haus der Geschichte is located on Bundesstraße 9 and is part of the Museumsmeile (Museum Mile) in Bonn, which itself is part of the former West German government district. It lies just north of the Kunstmuseum Bonn and the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, which are also part of the Museumsmeile. The basement of the Haus der Geschichte can be directly accessed from the subway station (Heusallee/Musuemsmeile) below, which is shared by all three museums.
In his government statement of October 13, 1982, right after taking office, the then Chancellor of Germany and student of history Helmut Kohl called for construction of a collection about the history of Germany and the division of Germany after 1945. In the following year he specified his vision in another government statement. In 1986, realization of this plan started in Bonn when a historical collection was brought together, a permanent exhibition was planned, and the construction of a building initiated. The German Bundestag confirmed the institution in 1989 in a separate law on foundations. Hermann Schäfer was the first president of this foundation and served for almost 20 years. In June 2007, his representative of many years, Hans Walter Hütter, became his successor. The museum was opened on the 14th of June 1994 by Helmut Kohl.
The building was designed in 1985 by the married couple and architects Ingeborg and Hartmut Rüdiger from Braunschweig within the framework of an architecture competition. Construction began in September 1989. The building has a total floor space of around 22,000 square meters, with 4,000 square meters being dedicated to the permanent exhibition, and over 650 square meters to temporary exhibitions.
The independent foundation under public law, "Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland", is sponsored and financed by the Federal Republic of Germany. The four entities of the foundation are a board of trustees, an academic advisory council, a committee concerned with the interests of various societal groupings, and a president.
The board of trustees as supervisor approves the budget and the basic program composition, and makes important personnel decisions. It is composed of representatives of the factions of the German Bundestag, the federal government, and all federal states. Since June 2008, Dr. Berggreen-Merkel has been chairman of the board of trustees.
The academic advisory council (chairman Lothar Gall) advises the board of trustees and the president of the foundation as to the museum's legal mission, especially as it affects the conceptional preparation of temporary exhibitions and the content of the permanent exhibition. The academic advisory council, consisting of historians, political scientists, experts in international law and museum experts, is an important guarantor for the independence of the foundation from political influence.
The committee concerned with the interests of various societial groupings (Arbeitskreis gesellschaftlicher Gruppen), chairman Karl Jürsten, represents the interests of museum visitors, major religious groups, employers' and employees' associations, foreigners, women, young people, and major community authorities when advising the board of trustees and the foundation president.
The president of the foundation, Hans Walter Hütter, manages the business of the foundation and decides matters which are not the responsibility of the board of trustees.
The museum puts special emphasis on the orientation of visitors and a vivid presentation of historical events. Under the slogan “Experience History”, the concept is to draw attention to historical objects and make them come alive for visitors. This happens also through the use of historical film and sound records. While the political history of the Federal Republic of Germany and the former East Germany (GDR) is the common thread of the permanent exhibition, the presentation of everyday and cultural history also offers visitors an opportunity to come to grips with their own past and encourages a dialogue between generations. Aside from exhibitions, numerous scientific conventions and events take place at the Haus der Geschichte. It also contains an information center with a reference library.