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Case Study: Berlin Museum of Natural History

Historical Collection Protected by WAGNER's Extinguishing Technology

The Natural History Museum in Berlin is not only an important natural history research institution, but also one of the largest natural history museums in Germany. Several million animal specimens with invaluable scientific and cultural value are collected here for research purposes. In addition, visitors can gain an authentic insight into the museum’s research work. Museum visitors can admire the historic, unique wet collection of alcohol-preserved animal preparations on the ground floor of the east wing. This was one of the reasons why those responsible opted for the inconspicuous but highly safe FirExting® gas extinguishing system from WAGNER. Fire extinguishing with inert gas provides comprehensive protection for the precious collection.

Gas Extinguishing System Protects History Exhibits from Fire Damage

About the project

To ensure that the animal specimens in the Berlin's Museum of Natural History are reliably protected, WAGNER developed a sophisticated fire protection concept together with the fire brigade and other experts. Highly sensitive and false-alarm-proof fire detection means that countermeasures can be taken at an early stage once a fire is detected. The automatic gas extinguishing system then ensures immediate containment of the fire without causing consequential damage to the exhibits.

About the customer

The Natural History Museum in Berlin houses scientific collections of approximately 30 million mineralogical, geological, palaeontological and zoological objects. After part of the museum was destroyed during the Second World War, it was rebuilt in 2010.

Protection goals

  • No extinguishing water
    A water-based extinguishing system should not be used in order to destroy the inscriptions of the research collection.
  • Exhibit protection
    The historically valuable collection must not be endangered or damaged by the consequences of fire.
  • Rapid fire fighting
    The extinguishing device shall be effective immediately in case of fire.
  • Aesthetics
    During installation, the fabric of the building should be preserved as much as possible, as should the aesthetics of the rooms for visitors.
alkoholkonservierte Tierpräparate sind ein Brandrisiko
Nasssammlung des Naturkundemuseum Berlin wird von WAGNER vor Bränden geschützt

Risk analysis

  • Fire loads
    The animal preparations are preserved in 70 per cent ethanol, which is highly flammable.
  • High value concentration
    The unique museum and research materials are stored in a very small area, which can accelerate the spread of fire.
  • Human error
    Careless behaviour by research personnel can cause fires.

Individual and Holistic Fire Extinguishing System for Multiple Areas

Fire protection expert WAGNER protects seven extinguishing areas in the Natural History Museum, ranging in size from 68 to 2,976 m² on different floors. Highly sensitive and false-alarm-proof air sampling smoke detectors of the brand TITANUS® detect smoke at a very early stage and thus provide a time advantage in the fight against fire.

After detection, the fire detection control panel switches off the room ventilation and the protected area is flooded with extinguishing gas. The FirExting® gas extinguishing system extinguishes quickly and without residue. The extinguishing gas is stored underground in a separate fire extinguishing system control centre in 56 nitrogen extinguishing agent containers, each with a capacity of 140 litres. It is fed into the areas to be protected through pipelines. The pipelines run concealed in ducts and shafts, and the extinguishing nozzles in the SILENT version are also hidden underneath the ceiling and shelves behind protective and baffle plates. Pressure relief flaps ensure optimum distribution of the pressure in the room so that the valuable glasses with the exhibits cannot topple over. A hold time is provided to prevent backfiring.

Customer benefits

  • Certified
    The WAGNER gas extinguishing system has been tested by experts and has VdS certification.
  • Fast
    Damage can be minimised or prevented by early alerting and immediate flooding of the protected area with extinguishing gas.
  • Protective
    The extinguishing gas nitrogen is non-toxic and residue-free. The scientific collections are not damaged by the extinguishing process.
  • Space saving
    The fire-fighting system is installed underground and thus invisible to visitors.

Alkoholische Tierpräparate im Naturkundemuseum Berlin

Further Information

National and international scientists estimate that there are around 30 million objects in the Berlin Museum of Natural History. Whether snakes, snails, lizards, frogs, spiders or fish: some of the specimens are more than 200 years old and are used to research the history of life's development. In addition to the wet collection, WAGNER technology also protects the museum's dry collection.

Customer Testimonial

Dr. Peter Bartsch, Head of department and curator responsible for the collection of the Museum of Natural History

For the storage and presentation of our wet collection, we needed an innovative [fire protection] solution that meets high functional and aesthetic requirements.