The museum has a number of special collections of medical historical importance in its holdings. These are described in more detail in the 2010 publication "Der zweite Blick". The collections are available for research into the history of medicine and science. Above all, they form the basis of objects for the permanent exhibition and special exhibitions of the museum as well as for loans to external museums.
The collection focus of the Berlin Museum of Medical History of the Charité lies beyond the special collections on objects and object groups on the history of Berlin medicine and the history of the Charité in general as well as on the history of pathology (at the Charité) in particular. We are happy to add interesting objects to our holdings after prior consultation.
The collection, which goes back primarily to the initiative of Rudolf Virchow, now comprises around 10,000 pathological-anatomical moist and dry specimens.
From the once separately run medical history institutes (GDR: Humboldt University of Berlin; FRG: Free University of Berlin), the museum's collection now includes a number of objects from the history of dentistry - mainly teaching aids, thematic panels with extracted teeth, teaching boards, preparations, models, moulages and prostheses - as well as objects from the history of human medicine, such as diagnostic and therapeutic instruments, with a focus on urology, microscopes, operating chairs and disinfection equipment.
Around 1900, Berlin was the center of moulage making in the German-speaking world. At least six medical institutions had considerable moulage collections here. Fritz Kolbow (1873-1946), one of the most important moulagers, served various clients as a private producer of teaching aids. With his help, among others, Richard Greeff (1862-1938), director of the Charité Eye Clinic, built up an excellent eye moulage collection in the early years of the 20th century. Recent research has proven beyond doubt that some of the objects shown here originate from Greeff's holdings. They could even be found in the "Atlas der äusseren Augenkrankheiten" (1909), in which Greeff relied exclusively on moulages as illustrations. He wrote in his preface that his reproduced moulages were always concrete "disease cases" that he saw in his clinic.
The permanent loan of the German Ophthalmological Society comprises around 1,100 objects from the history of ophthalmology: Letters, college notebooks, lecture notes, instruments, graphics, photographs and medals from the life of the Berlin ophthalmologist Albrecht von Graefe (1828-1870).
From the work of the Charité pathologists, beginning with Rudolf Virchow, a number of traces of life of various kinds have been preserved at the museum: Section protocols, laboratory books, lists of preparations, photos, slides, offprints, pictures, congratulatory letters, newspaper clippings, letters, bookplates, notes, cost lists and much more. In addition, there are rare printed works (Rara) from the fields of anatomy and pathology.