The Wende Museum collection contains art, artifacts, personal histories and archival documents that record life, expression and political developments in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union during the Cold War period from 1945 to 1991. It comprises a variety of media including design objects, works on paper, ceramics, paintings, sculptures, posters, furniture, textiles, clothing, furniture, photographs, films and books.
The Museum also holds a collection of more than 21,000 books and periodicals published in both East Germany and the Soviet Union on a diverse range of subjects. A portion of the book collection comes from Erich Honecker’s personal library.
The Wende Museum is one of the few institutions in the world. and the only one in the United States, to hold an almost complete run of Neues Deutschland, the official organ of the central committee of the Socialist Unity Party (SED), the controlling party of the East German state. The newspaper, which was published from 1945 through the transitional Wende era (1989-1990) and continues today as both a paper and a Web site, carried the official views on politics and ideology, as well as on culture, sports and entertainment.
The Museum commits its acquisition resources largely to those artifacts, artworks or collections that either make an important addition to core strengths or fill significant gaps, and/or are threatened with imminent destruction or dispersal. This includes historically or culturally significant items likely to be sold to a private collection and removed from public access. The Wende also attempts to acquire artifacts at the request of scholars in need of specific resources unavailable elsewhere.