Museum Island (Deutsch. Museumsinsel) in Berlin, Germany is the name of the northern half of the Spreeinsel, an island in the Spree river in the centre of the city (the southern half of the island is called Fischerinsel (Fishers' Island)).
The island received its name for several internationally renowned museums that now occupy all of the island's northern half (originally a residential area dedicated to "art and science" by King Frederick William IV of Prussia in 1841). Constructed under several Prussian kings, their collections of art and archeology were turned into a public foundation after 1918, the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation), which maintains the collections and museums today.
The Prussian collections became separated during the Cold War during the division of the city, but were reunited after German reunification except for the art and artefacts removed after World War II by Allied troops and not yet returned; these include the Priam's Treasure, also called the gold of Troy, excavated by Heinrich Schliemann in 1873, then smuggled out of Turkey to Berlin.
Presently, the Museumsinsel and the collections are in the process of being reorganized. Since several buildings were destroyed in World War II and some of the exhibition space is in the process of being reconstructed, the information below is in a state of flux.
and Bode Museum (1951)]] The oldest museum on the island is the aptly-named Old Museum (Altes Museum). It was completed on the orders of Karl Friedrich Schinkel in 1830. In 1859, the New Museum (Neues Museum) was finished, this time according to plans by Friedrich August Stüler, a student of Schinkel. It was completed in 1859.
The Old National Gallery (Alte Nationalgalerie) was completed in 1876, also according to designs by Friedrich August Stüler, to host a collection of 19th century art donated by banker Joachim H. W. Wagener. In 1904 the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum, today called the Bode Museum, was opened. It exhibits the sculpture collections and late Antique and Byzantine art.
The final museum of the complex was constructed in 1930, it was the Pergamon Museum, . The museum contains multiple reconstructed immense and historically significant buildings such as the Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gate of Babylon. In 1999, the museum complex was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
Museum Island is referenced in the song "On the Museum Island" by folk artist Emmy the Great