The museum is located within the centre of the former U.S. sector. Both the U.S. Military Government and the Supreme Command of the Berlin Brigade were headquartered in the Clayallee. The street was named after General Lucius D. Clay who had been the U.S. Military Governor in Germany between 1947 and 1949 and whom the Berliners call the “Father” of the Airlift Campaign. The museum was named „Allied Museum“ after the then commonly used name for the Western allies since the Soviet Union had left the „Group of Allies“ after the end of the war. The Advisory Council that initiates and implements all the museum’s activities consists of German, U.S., English and French members.
The buildings bear witness to the Allied presence in Berlin: shopping centre, library and cinema – neither building was accessible for the Berlin citizens.
The traces left behind by the Allied presence, preserved by the museum, are numerous and manifold: An airplane and a railroad car from the French Military Train of Berlin are waiting for visitors. The collections with lots of collected items refer to various fields: soldiers and high-ranking officers, utensils for every day use, weapons, technical equipment, charts and models, maps, leaflets and posters, photos, audio and video tapes. The collections of military objects and documents are abundantly rich of exhibits, mainly items from U.S. sources, donations by veterans dedicated to the museum.
In addition to the classical task of a museum, i.e. collecting, storing, presenting and preserving, the Allied Museum also focuses its activities on history studies and the conveying of the results of its research work. These conveying activities take place in permanent and special exhibitions, events and workshops. Eyewitness accounts complete the offer in a lively way and therefore offer to the visitor a comprehensive possibility to learn about the historical context and the historical happenings. The objects, documents and materials can also be lent out and are permanently accessible for research purposes.
Among the recent publications are: Let Berlin be next (George Bush and the German Unity), Vive Berlin (A Focal Point of French-German History from 1945 to 2003), The Pioneers of the Airlift etc.
Every year, the Allied Museum organises a special exhibition of particular importance. The title agreed upon for 2004 is “The Allied Military Missions on the Relations to the Soviet Supreme Command”
The opening of the exhibition, which is dedicated to the honouring commemoration to those members of the Allied Military Missions who gave their lives on the performance of their duty, and shows how complex and difficult their mission was, will take place on March 25, 2004.
The Missions had to pursue two military aims: The maintenance of contacts and relations between representatives of the Western Allies and the Soviets, even on the peak of Cold War, and to collect “sensitive“ information and news. Is it, for example, common knowledge that more than two million photos of “objects” in the G.D.R. territory were taken every year? G.D.R authorities repeatedly tried to obstruct the Missions’ work, and the exhibition is the first occasion that points out the sometimes insignificant, sometimes even lethal incidents in this context.
This outstanding exhibition, which will be opened in the presence of high-ranking representatives of the different countries, is worth visiting for several reasons.