Das Museum der Unerhörten Dinge

Amy Jane Wood

If, like us, you love tales of peculiar and extraordinary occurrences, then we cannot recommend Das Museum der Unerhörten Dinge enough. Roughly translated as “The Museum of Unheard-of-Things”, this small space housed in a pre-war building in Schöneberg, is a treasure trove of oddities and curiosities collected and curated by Roland Albrecht. Roland invited us to photograph the objects, join him for coffee and even let us rummage the bounty of artefacts in his back room.

The artistic and scientific objects displayed in the museum seem arbitrary at first glance; it’s difficult to decipher their purpose or provenance but all is unveiled by the accompanying texts. In fact, it’s the fascinating and far-fetched anecdotes behind the artefacts that are more interesting than their form.

Objects currently being exhibited include a slab of iron from the Chernobyl ‘death zone’ and pieces from Walter Benjamin’s typewriter, but the curious tales that really caught our eye were those of a reindeer’s antler and a small piece of fur. The story goes that a reindeer made a 3000 mile journey from it’s native Lapland to Spain because an ingrown antler – compressing the brain area responsible for body temperature – caused a neurological disfunction that made icy conditions intolerable and consequently prompted a jaunt to the sunny shores of southern Spain. More astounding yet is the fur belonging to the last ever bonsai deer. Allegedly bred in 1819 by the buddhas at the Myken Vhu monastery in Japan, bonsai deer measured 7-12cm in height and were shown to the general public once a year. Just as the buddhas created bonsai trees, they bred bonsai animals, yet whilst the art of bonsai trees has been passed down through the ages, the buddhas left no written record of their methods for cultivating animals, believing that only they could be trusted to interfere with nature in such a way.

Let your curiosity lead you to Crellestrasse 5-6, Schöneberg. Entry is free and opening hours are Wednesday to Friday 15:00 – 19:00.

Roland has produced a compendium of all his extraordinary artefacts, available to buy at the museum and from Amazon.