The Altes Museum (Old Museum), built from 1823 to 1830 according to the designs of Karl Friedrich Schinkel, is one of the most important buildings of Classicism. With a clearly articulated outer form and a precise inner structure based on Greek antiquity, Schinkel corresponded to Humboldt's idea of opening the museum to the public as an educational institution.
The monumental order of the 18 fluted Ionic columns, the wide-span vestibule, the rotunda — an explicit reference to the Roman Pantheon — and finally the open staircase are architectural elements that until then had only been reserved for stately buildings.
Originally created for all of Berlin's art collections, the Altes Museum has housed the Collection of Classical Antiquities since 1904. Between 1943 and 1945, the building burned down and was severely damaged. The reconstruction lasted until 1966.