Eight excellent collections of international renown are kept in the five buildings of the Museumsinsel Berlin (Museum Island Berlin). They represent the development of European art and culture as well as its roots in the Near East, and comprise an encyclopedic wealth of objects. After World War II, the holdings of the collections were divided between East and West Berlin for decades. In the wake of German reunification, the museums from the East and West were reunited under the umbrella of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation). As a result, it became necessary to develop a new concept for the museum and collection sites of the Foundation. The concept, which had already been drafted in 1990, became the basis for the Museum Island Master Plan devised in 1999. Since 1999 the Museum Island and its collections have been part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
In order to adequately present the collections, the buildings on the Museum Island need to be renovated in line with the official regulations for renovating historical buildings, and adapted to the modern standards of exhibition venues.
Another objective of the Master Plan is to exhibit the archaeological collections on the Museum Island in their larger context. The focus will be on the diverse points of contact and similarities between the cultures beyond the limits of the individual collections. The Archaeological Promenade connecting the buildings on the Museum Island will facilitate such a comprehensive presentation of the collections.
In its rooms, visitors will be able to take a walk through the great themes of human history. The Ancient Architectures Tour in the Pergamonmuseum will provide another connection between various collections, a worldwide unique tour allowing visitors to encounter the monumental buildings of the archaeological collections.
Notwithstanding these new connections, each collection will keep its individual, separate character. For example, the Archaeological Promenade will allow access to all of the individual collections. Additionally, the historical entrances to the museum buildings will continue to exist, allowing visitors to delve into any particular collection they are interested in.