I kind of ran out of steam on my vacation blogging, because I never know if anyone other than me is actually interested in my vacation. I mean, I don't want to be boring. But tonight I had dinner with E.C. before rehearsal and she reassured me that it's interesting, even if no one leaves comments. Which is not a blatant plea for comments (although I am not above that) but rather an acknowledgment that some posts aren't really the kind that require comments. Unfortunately, I have no other metric for interestingness, but I'm just going to forge ahead in the hope that what interests me must interest at least *some* other people.
Here's something that interests me: wacky museums. And the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie ("House at Checkpoint Charlie") is most definitely one of these. Checkpoint Charlie was the main gateway between East and West Berlin for non-Germans. The museum opened there in 1963 and loomed over the border until the wall fell. The museum reflects one dude's personal obsession with the wall.
The guy who started it had contacts in the escape-helper community, so it has tons of escape-related artifacts, like cars that were modified to hide people, ultra-lights that flew into East Germany and brought back friends and relatives, and a big old-fashioned console radio that a teenage girl escaped in. And a platform that a family used to escape with a hot-air balloon. And movies about escapes. And diagrams of tunnels. And so much more. There are photographs and writing everywhere you look. Whoever put it together wasn't overly concerned about objectivity, context, or whether one should avoid repeating the same information - even the same photographs - in different parts of the museum (sometimes even in the same room).
Here's a picture. See those two suitcases up at the top right corner? They have a hole cut between them, and a girl escaped in there.
I described the museum to S.Ev as "awesomely cheesy." I think it's too bad that this is the only exposure most people get to information about the Wall, because there are really fascinating and well-thought-out memorials in other places, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. There's nothing like a good wacky museum.