The art historian and cultural manager Hartmut Dorgerloh will remain artistic director of the Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace. The Forum's Board of Trustees, chaired by Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth, has extended Dorgerloh's contract by five years. This means that the plan to integrate the Humboldt Forum into the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which has been ventilated by federal politicians in the meantime, is off the table for the foreseeable future.

Andreas Kilb

Feuilleton correspondent in Berlin.

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The fact that the faltering reform process of the Preußenstiftung is nevertheless relevant for the Forum is revealed by the current press release of the Directorate, which "not only enables but promotes effective and innovative work" and calls for more intensive cooperation with the Foundation's museums represented in the museum – the Ethnological Museum and the Museum of Asian Art.

Skill and agility

Dorgerloh, who was appointed to his post in May 2018 by Roth's predecessor Monika Grütters after a sixteen-year tenure as Director General of the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation, has since manoeuvred the Humboldt Forum with skill and agility through the various partial openings during the Corona pandemic and the inevitable debates about the colonial origins of the collections on display. However, it lacks the financial leeway to supplement the permanent presentations of the museums and the Humboldt University with special exhibitions with international appeal.

The funds provided by the federal government for the initial furnishing of the house have now been exhausted, and the operating budget has been cut from the original 56 to just under fifty million euros. This scarcity of funds is quite noticeable in the programme: more than two special exhibitions per year, curated or taken over by foreign partners, are not possible. Dorgerloh's promise to ensure "attractive programme work" and "a further developed understanding of the museum" is therefore also an invitation to the Minister of State for Culture to live up to her role as overmistress of the Humboldt Forum.