How did pictures learn to walk? What led to the development of cinema? Who invented film? What goes on behind the scenes? The permanent exhibition 'Moving Images - the History of Film Technology' opened in January 2000 and provides answers to these and many other questions on around 400 m² of floor space.

The exhibition presents the long, eventful history of film technology from the magic lantern to the modern film projector, from the mediaeval peep-show cabinet and the 19th century optical tricks such as the magic drum (zoetrope), the praxinoscope or Anschütz's quick viewer, to the cinema and video film of the 1980s.

The museum's several hundred exhibits include the 1750 ox-eye lens, peep-show cabinets and 'camera obscuras', Messter cine-cameras and a 'Panzerkino' (a metal-clad, tank-like projector) from the early days of the German film industry, professional film cameras from all periods, amateur cameras from 1898 up to modern video cameras, a film-set diorama with original equipment, and also a cutting room. A wide range of equipment from the history and prehistory of cinema as well as working replicas of pioneering film equipment are hands-on exhibits which visitors can use.

You can marvel at fascinating and entertaining historical film footage, for example an original Edison film on the execution of Mary Stuart, films on the Berlin pioneers Max Skladanowsky and Oskar Messter, and also early amateur footage.

Here you can try out functioning historical devices – originals and replicas. Or relax in a cinema seat and watch the Berlin cinema pioneers Max Skladanowsky and Oskar Messter introduce themselves on film.

Our “Film about Film” shows how feature films were produced around 1950, while excerpts from amateur films reveal the world of the home movie.

It was little more than one hundred years ago that the first moving pictures flickered onto the movie screen, so the twentieth century was the era of the celluloid film. The exhibition shows all its technical dimensions.