The collections department of the academy archive contains historically and culturally valuable material on the history of Berlin's Academy of Sciences and has, at different times and in different ways, come into the possession of the academy and its archive.
The collections department, which was established in the 1960s as a separate archive department, has by now acquired fourteen holdings of collections. The most significant of them are: the entire holding of items of art property, the photographic collection and the collection of historical scientific instruments.
The remaining archival collections are: the tape-recording, film and video cassette collection, the CD/DVD collection, the collection of newspaper cuttings, the exhibition collection, the biographic and bibliographic collection, the poster and prospectus collection, the facsimile collection, the collection of reports of experiences and the present collection. In the course of 300 years, Berlin's Academy of Sciences came into possession of numerous works of art which are associated with the history of the academy. The academy's possession of works of art can be traced back to the beginning of the 18th century. The portrait of the first president of the Academy of Sciences, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, in all probability painted by the artist Johann Friedrich Wentzel (the elder), originates, for example, from the period when the academy was founded. One of the most recently acquired art possessions is the golden Helmholtz medal with which the mathematician Karl Weierstrass (1815-1897) was decorated in 1892 by the Prussian Academy of Sciences and which did not become part of the academy archive holdings until 1999.
Loans from the individual holdings of the collections department not only enhance the appearance of staff and management offices, but are also shown in numerous exhibitions at home and abroad.