Flo Hayler decided to start a Ramones museum after receiving an ultimatum from his girlfriend – either his empire of memorabilia went or she did. Four years and 10,000 visitors later, The Ramones Museum Berlin is still going strong.
The collection of over 300 pieces runs the gamut. There are photo shrines, t-shirts, gig posters and even a pair of Johnny Ramone’s jeans. Each item is placed with care and precision – a couple of hours in this room and even a non-fan could soak up the fascinating history of one of the most simple (yet complex) bands in rock history.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more dedicated fan than Hayler, who describes himself as the “happiest guy on Earth”. Walking through the main gallery, he grins at each item, probably imagining how it came into his care. He admits that some nights he just sits in the main space and stares at the room, imagining how to improve the arrangement of its contents. A bigger fanboy there’s never been.
This is undoubtedly the reason that the museum works so well. It’s less a collection and more a shrine, a labor of love that is easily appreciated by anyone who has ever gone to the dark side of collecting, a world where a lost eBay war might end in tears and tantrums.
The space also contains Café Mania, which has ended up becoming a hangout for local scenesters. Tourists who stick around for a cup of coffee often find that they leave with more information about Berlin than any guidebook could offer. This is a place to find out every hip event in Berlin for the next month, publicized or not.
The museum also doubles as a performance space, with upcoming shows including Anti-Flag and Jay Reatard. CJ Ramone recently played a set in the space – hundreds of people waited in line for a chance to make it inside and meet a Ramone. Longtime Ramone friend and designer Arturo Vega –the man responsible for The Ramones logo – will make an appearance at the museum’s birthday on October 16th.
Ramones Museum Berlin. Krausnickstr. 23, Berlin, Germany.