Friday, February 20, 2009

Berlin Museum of Letters

"Let me recite what history teaches. History teaches." These are the infamous last lines of the enigmatic Gertrude Stein in her elegant profile of Pablo Picasso. The lines are simple, approachable, and altogether electrifying with their truth and substance. And, as chance should have it, nothing could ring more true as I stumbled across the extraordinary collection of sign letters at Berlin's Buchstabenmuseum (Museum of Letters). Maybe I'm obsessed with these letters because I'm a typographical junkie. Or it could just be the forgotten stories behind these rustic pieces that once lined the walls of German train station, cafes and beer halls. Then again, it might just be the humanizing effect of seeing such majestic pieces of once beaming signage reduced to piles of shapely (and rather abstract) letters, numbers and symbols. And what does this teach all teach us? Despite Ms. Stein's ego-maniacal tendencies, these letters would make fantastic additions to any home or restaurant.