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Malini Kochupillai

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Maholy Nagy

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Wilfried Wang,
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Hans Scharoun

Berlin 1956-1963



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Gründerzeit Museum in the Mahlsdorf Manor House 


Gründerzeit Museum

Chinese Tea House


The steps leading up to the Mahlsdorf Manor House are framed on both sides by red thorn trees pruned into spherical shapes. At the back, the old estate stretches out with its tall trees and bright flower meadows. After numerous alterations and having been put to various uses, the ruined house was about to be pulled down until Charlotte von Mahlsdorf moved here in 1958. Charlotte, born in Mahlsdorf as Lothar Berfelde, was a transvestite, curator, maid, museum director and author, and was awarded an Order of Merit. For decades, Charlotte devoted herself to the restoration of the 200 year old country villa. After just two years she opened her private Gründerzeit Museum in the first rooms to be renovated. 
In the 1970s, the collection grew to twenty-three complete interiors and many single pieces. She commented that “nothing would have come to fruition if l had not had a feminine disposition in a masculine body. This museum is here because l played with dolls’ house furniture as a child, because I am still a cleaning lady today, because l enjoy this Gründerzeit period and because I always wanted to have a household around me.” Gründerzeit literally means the Founder Epoch and roughly dates from 1870-1900. In architecture and design it is characterized by rich, often overladen ornamentation and by a combination of architectural styles.
In 1995, the expert and lover of the Gründerzeit took the last visitors around the museum herself, and shortly afterwards moved to Sweden. Various circumstances led to this, among them an assault by neo-Nazis. The collection was bought by the city and since then has been managed by a trust. Even without the lady of the house, it is still a pleasure to be guided through the five living rooms, through the kitchen, washhouse, maid’s room, barrel-organ music room and the complete installation of the “Mulackritze“, the last “Zille”-type pub, in Berlin. Every piece of furniture reflects the history of the passionate collector, who died in 2002. 
On Sundays, tea is served from two p.m. in the Mulackritze and outdoors if the weather is fine.



Address: Hultschiner Damm 333, 12623 Berlin, +49 (0)30 5678329, 
Hours of opening: Wed and Sun 10.00-18.00
Bus, Tube, Tram: S 5 Mahlsdorf; Bus 398 Hultschiner Damm; Tram 62 Alt-Mahlsdorf