The Beatles got their start at the Star-Club in Hamburg in the year 1962, but none of them has ever set foot in Halle as far as I know. Nonetheless, Halle is the location of a large Beatles Museum which is well worth a visit even if your musical tastes run more to Händel and Donizetti than to John, Paul, George and Ringo.
This is one of the very few museums — like the Chocolate Museum in Cologne — that is self-supporting, covers its own costs, pays taxes, does not run a deficit and does not need or receive any public subsidies. According to their website, this is “the world’s oldest, largest and most comprehensive public institution on the subject of the Beatles.” The museum was founded in 1989 in Cologne, but soon ran out of space in their premises there. They contacted several cities in Germany in search of a new building and finally decided on Halle, where a suitable building was available. So the Beatles Museum reopened in Halle in April 2000.
This is not a selective museum. For years they have been collecting anything and everything related to the Beatles and have stuffed it all into 500 square meters of exhibition space on four floors of this very nice old building. The lower floors are devoted to “The Beatles until 1970” and the upper floors have exhibits on “The Solo Beatles” from the time after John, Paul, George and Ringo split up and all went their separate ways with independent solo careers.
Somewhere on one of the upper floors there is a small display on Klaus Voormann, a German musician and graphic artist who was born in Berlin in 1938. Voormann made friends with the Beatles when they were just getting started in Hamburg. He later designed some of their album covers and also stayed in contact while he was playing with other bands. Paul and Ringo both appeared on Voormann’s audio CD A Sideman’s Journey in 2009.
On the top floor of the museum there is a projection room where you can see masses of films and videos. If you have lots of time on your hands you could theoretically sit there from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (they don’t mind) and probably not see the same film twice.
Entrance to the museum costs six Euros per person, except that children who are less than 150 centimeters tall only pay three Euros (prices as of 2018).
Once when I went to the Music Museum in Paris they had a large but temporary exhibition on John Lennon entitled Unfinished Music, dealing with his life and work in the 1970s after the breakup of the Beatles. Admittedly the display in Halle is not as polished and professional as the one in Paris, but the one in Halle has the advantage of being there permanently so you can see it whenever you happen to be in town. (Except Mondays, when the museum is closed.)
Aside from the many items on display, the Beatles Museum also has a shop on the ground floor where you can buy their magazine (called “THINGS”) as well as Beatles Singles, EPs, LPs, MCs, CDs, Mini-Discs, DVDs, Videos, Video-CDs, books, post cards, posters, T-shirts, socks, souvenirs, calendars, etc.
The Beatles Museum is at Alter Markt 12, 06108 Halle (Saale)
GPS 51°28’49.14″ North; 11°58’6.79″
My photos in this post are from 2009. I revised the text in 2018.
See more posts on Halle an der Salle, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany.