History of Exhibitions

Revolutionary ideas on exhibition design 1900 lead to modern multimedia displays on the interface of the sciences and the public.

The history of the exhibitions begins in 1889, when the Museum moves from its main building in what was then the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität into the purpose-built museum building on Invalidenstraße.

Display - a Bone of Contention
While the building was in the planning stages, a vehement discussion began on how the treasures in the Museum should be displayed. The Director of the Zoological Institute, Wilhelm Peters, was strongly in favour of making all collections accessible to the public, overruling the architect August Tiede, who wanted to have one floor designated as a public display area.

Separation into Display Collection and Main Collection
After the move, the new Director Karl Möbius had the exhibitions for public display all established. In the ground floor. The separation into a public display collection and a main collection was then thought to be a revolutionary approach, which was widely adopted. Over the years, the exhibition areas underwent several changes. Dioramas became a key element in public displays.

The Arrival of the Dinosaurs
In the 1930s, the dinosaur bones found at Tendaguru arrived at the Museum to be mounted into skeletons in large atrium. All these developments came to an abrupt end in the Second World War. Many halls were refurbished and redesigned between the 1950s and the 1980s.

A Public Platform for the Sciences
After two years of construction and refurbishment, four permanent exhibition halls and a hall for special exhibitions were opened on July 13th 2007. Exhibitions were redesigned for the occasion. Under the title "Evolution in Action", a range of our research topics covering "Evolution of the Earth and Life upon it" were presented to the public.

Since September 13th 2010, the ground floor of the newly erected East Wing of the museum’s building is also part of the exhibitions. Visitors can have a look at our fish and herpetological collections (amphibians and reptiles). These collections are two examples of the large collections housed at the Museum für Naturkunde.

More than ever, exhibitions have become the interface between the sciences and the public.

Last update: 18.07.2012