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“Fascinating museum of mankind”

Ranked #34 of 268 things to do in Cologne
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: A rice storage hut and and a full Javanese gamelan greet you at this unique museum that aims to unite humanity across cultures and gives visitors an opportunity to explore their own prejudices and preconceived notions. Open Tuesday to Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and the first Thursday of the month until 10 p.m.
Reviewed August 26, 2012

This newly constructed musem is housed in an airy attractive building on several floors. It shows different societies, shown from a socialogical angle. There are many hands-on experiences, beautifully exhibited artifacts, rooms showing different indigenous groups, all exhibited in a non-crowded original manner. As it over a year since I visited the museum I don't remember all the details, but I am planning on visiting again soon as there is so much to see.

1  Thank K B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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31 - 35 of 128 reviews

Reviewed June 22, 2012

This is on my shortlist of best museums I have ever visited.

The information is presented in a more hands on approach. Things speak to you, videos play, draws open, objects move. It also makes it more fun for kids. We were in there a good few hours and never got bored or restless as you often do after a certain period of time in a museum. It touched on a number of issues which you probably wouldn't see in most museums and gives you information and allows you to draw your on conclusion. It is quite thought provoking at times.

I has plenty of lockers to hold your coats and belongings and is a short walk from the centre of the city, so it is quite convenient.

2  Thank amcs1983
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 18, 2012

Another way of showing Ethnographic collection, innovative and nicely presented in a manner that will suit grownups and children alike.

Thank PINELights
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2012

We saw the exhibition "Dialog zwischen den Welten" It was a very interesting and informative visit for us. An impressive collection.

Thank Juhani T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2011

I visited this museum on 9 August 2011, using my Cologne Museum Card. This card also covers the attached Schnutgen (Medieval Art) Museum, so my marginal cost was zero. It's just beyond an easy walk from the Old Town, so I used the first-day transit-pass feature of the Museum Card.

The Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum is Cologne's "Ethnographic Museum", corresponding to the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam, or the almost as new Musée du Quai Branly in Paris. Note that in Amsterdam, the name used to be "Colonial Museum", which isn't Politically Correct anymore. You learn something about the Colonial past of European countries when you visit their Ethnographic Museums! And when newspaper columnists talk about, say, the Islam-ification of Europe (as we talk about the Hispanicisation of the USA), they are mainly talking about the endgame of colonialism.

In the lobby is their pride and joy, a beautiful bamboo and wood rice storage silo from Indonesia. Video displays show its restoration by visiting artisans from there. The several floors of exhibits are spanking new, slick, and often technology-enhanced. There are no dusty glass cases here! That said, I suspect that the long-term use of this museum will be school trips. It's very important for schoolchildren to learn that not everyone lives just like they do.

For example, at the grand entrance after they check your ticket, you have a widescreen video of young people greeting each other in dozens of languages and the associated ethnic greeting style. Various European countries air-kiss a different number of times on each side of the head! And various African kids bump fists and elbows in a dizzying array of styles. The actual object exhibits are much more substantive. But it would be fair to say that this is not a must-see for someone in Cologne for only one day.

Unlike some ethnic museums, the airy and bright cafe in the lobby doesn't have ethnic food-It's German. But I found the prices fair, and the food fresh. It was handy for a quick lunch before I moved on to the attached Schnutgen Museum. Note that you can get to the toilets without buying a ticket. They're downstairs, straight ahead from the entrance, as far as you can walk in a straight line to the stairs.

2  Thank obsoperator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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