There is a hint of animal smell in the air in the Mammals Collection. Fir-green metal cabinets extend over several aisles. Latin names stick to the doors. Normally, only registered researchers can get here, looking for answers when doing research on mammals.
But at the end of 2018, our Mammals Collection fictionally became the Berlin police archive. The wide corridors and cabinets of the collection were one of many locations for the third season of "Babylon Berlin".
This is how the Mammal Collection became a police archive
Where several thousand collection objects are available for research, Gereon Rath (Volker Bruch) and Reinhold Gräf (Christian Fiedel) asked for access to top-secret information. All sorts of historical objects from the 1920s moved into the collection room for the shooting. For examplay, an oven was carefully placed. An office has been set up where there is usually only a passage. The office has been equipped down to the smallest detail, such as a tacker and telephone. The inscriptions on the cupboards were pasted over with the police archive labels. Wherever there was an “unsuitable” wooden cupboard, the shooting team created a deceptively real backdrop that looked like the fir-green collection cupboards.
See how the Mammals Collection was transformed:
Credits: X Filme Creative Pool GmbH / ARD Degeto Film GmbH / Sky Deutschland / WDR / Beta Film GmbH 2020
What do the collection cabinets hide?
Our Mammals Collection consists of a total of 150,000 objects, including 2,000 type specimens that are particularly relevant for research. The spectrum ranges from native species to endangered or even extinct animal species, such as the thylacine. There are also bats and antelopes in the collection to serve current research questions. Among other things, the objects in the collection provide researchers with valuable information about animal populations in the past - compared to today.
Light, camera, action, in the Museum of Natural History
The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin is in demand, sometimes also among film crews: for instance, George Clooney was a guest on the site when he played in the film "Monuments Men - Unusual Heroes". But also German film teams are interested every now and then.