A visit to the Film Museum Potsdam is a walk through history — but not just the history of cinema. For locals and travellers alike, time spent in this historic building and complex is swirl of culture, architecture, curated collections, and academic achievements of the highest order. No tour of the city is complete without a stop here, where tourists will enjoy multiple screenings per day in one of the area’s most beautiful baroque settings.
The Film Museum Potsdam is located in the Royal Stables — the oldest building in the city — built in 1685 as the royal stables of the Potsdam City Palace. The Palace served as a residence for the Electorate of Brandenburg and then Prussian Kings. But the structure has seen many lives.
Originally constructed as an orangery, the baroque building was later transformed, by King Frederick William I. in the early 18th century, as a stable for the royal horses. Several decades later, Frederick the Great gave the historic structure a makeover. He gave the task to Sanssouci's architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, who gave the complex its present look.
Starting in 1981, the Film Museum Potsdam, which was formerly the Film Museum of the GDR, and its café have resided in this magnificent building. After 1990, the complex was placed under the administrative auspices of the Federal State of Brandenburg — presenting the history of film and unified Germany. Then, in 2011, the collection was housed as a department under the Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen "Konrad Wolf" Potsdam-Babelsberg.
Arguably, today’s era may be among the most important in the history of the building and the museum. The permanent exhibition includes "The Dream factory — 100 years of film in Babelsberg,” which details the story of the Babelsberg film studios, paying homage to the world’s oldest filmmaking house. As well, visitors can access the museum’s large archive of photographs, films, listing of film awards, a look into movie technology through the ages, costume design, posters, props, and records. The cinema also allows museum-goers to choose between several film screenings per day and welcomes scholars and professionals to delve into its ever-evolving collections.
For visitors to the Film Museum Potsdam, it is easy to reach the palaces and parks of the UNESCO World Heritage complex. From the Royal Stables take the tram or bus. To reach the Filmpark Babelsberg, take the suburban train (S-Bahn) from the main station.