While the art collection and the historical archives go back to the founding of the academy in the year 1696, the person’s archives was only created after the Second World War in both art academies of Berlin (East and West). These united in 1993; today, the academy is funded by the Federal Republic of Germany. The first focus for collection for the archives was artefacts from artists persecuted by the National Socialists, the memory and artistic message of whom were to be preserved and spread for the coming generations. A further focus is the division of the six members of the academy into the six categories, in analogy to which the six archive departments for the visual arts, architecture, music, literature, the performing arts and film and the media are divided. The archive currently maintains 1,200 single artefacts with 12,000 metres of shelves containing written documentation, 25,000 large sheets of theatre graphics, 55,000 building plans, over 1.5 million photographs, 65,000 artworks and around 40,000 artistic placards as well as 550,000 library entries.
The items relating to dance belong to the Performing Arts Archives. The focus is free dance of the 1920’s and 1930’s, classical dance influenced by the Second World War, as well as German modern theatre dance. It is filled with prominent archives, such as those of Mary Wigman, Gret Palucca, Valeska Gert, Tatjana Gsovsky, Tom Schilling and the theatre of the Komische Oper Berlin, Gerhard Bohner, Susanne Linke sowie Johann Kresnik. The items are sourced from collections (films, video materials, recordings, photographs etc.), as well as the bequests of individuals. The dance artefacts are documented in an EasyDB-Database in 11,319 record entries.