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The Central Archive is an academic institution closely linked with all collections as well as the administrative departments of the National Museums in Berlin. The archive functions as both a site of research and the historic "memory" of the museums. Spanning all collections, its holdings represent the history of the National Museums in Berlin, the former Royal Museums.
The main purpose of the archive is to handle the material entrusted in its care according to archive-specific principles, to ensure long-term preservation, and to make them accessible. In response to an increased demand for information on and documentation of the history of culture and art, the Zentralarchiv on the Museum Island is open to the academic public, offering its holdings for research as well as answering queries.
The archive is divided into the following sections:
I. Transaction Records of the Königliche Museen (Royal Museums) / National Museums in Berlin up to 1945
II. Transaction Records of the National Museums in Berlin after 1945, Transaction Records of the museums belonging to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation after 1948/1957
III. Records of Associations and Commissions
IV. Personal Papers (including Permanent Loans)
V. Archive Collections