The Staatliche Museen is one of the most important museum complexes in Germany and Europe. The original function of the complex was the dissemination of culture through a careful selection of works, both of an artistic and scientific nature. This idea was embodied in a mandate of Frederick Wilhelm III's government from 29th March 1810. The complex is in the so-called Island of Museums, which is really a peninsula, built over a hundred-year period. It is made up of three great groups. The first is formed by the Schinkel Museum of Ancient Art, built between 1824-1830; the Museum of Modern Art, built between 1843-1855; the National Gallery of Ancient Painting built 1867-1876; the Bode Museum (originally known as the Museum of the Emperor Frederick) constructed in 1898-1904 and the Pergamo Museum built 1909-1930. The second group was formed in 1877 around the Museum of Applied Arts with adjacent buildings related to it, such as the Arts Library and the Ethnographic Museum, built in 1905. The building of the third group, focused around the Museum of Asiatic Art, started in 1913 but was not finished until 1971. The magnificent complex remained in a somewhat latent state although it continued to develop as the acquisition of new exhibits created a demand for greater space (from the very beginning this was a significant problem). In 1918 the end of the monarchy made the incorporation of palaces and castles into the museum complex possible. An example of this is the Princess's Palace where the Schinkel Museum is housed, the Bellevue Palace for the Ethnographic Museum and most importantly the Municipal Palace of Berlin, destined to housing not only the collection of the Museum of Applied Arts but also the furniture collection of the Hohenzollern family. During the Second World War the museums remained closed and many of the buildings were destroyed and their collections were sent all over the world, especially to Russia, to prevent further damage. When the war was over the division of Germany meant that it was difficult to continue with Wilhelm III's educational schemes. Archives were separated from their collections and the collaboration between the two sides was non-existent for obvious reasons. Each side took charge of reconstructing their damaged buildings, although with the extensions and new constructions the idea of an early reunification was always kept in mind, which meant the spirit of union that existed between the different organisations was not broken. This situation continued until 9th November 1989, the historic day when the Berlin wall fell. Reunification was immediate in the museum field, despite the serious conflicts and confrontations, whereas the reunification of the State was a much lengthier process.