The Museum für Naturkunde forms the representative centrepiece of an ensemble built by architect August Tiede (1834-1911) on the grounds of the former Royal Iron Foundry.
Erection of a Three-Winged Building Complex
In 1889, three heretofore independent institutions found a new home in the building - the Geological-Palaeontological, the Mineralogical-Petrographical and the Zoological Museum. The partition was reflected in the three wings of Tiede's building, inspired by the French Renaissance and the Baroque.
A Revolutionary New Concept
Between 1914 and 1917, an additional annex was built to house the collections that had grown rapidly. While the building was being erected, a new concept of organising the museum took hold. Traditionally, visitors were able to view the collections in the entire building. Now it was decided that the exhibits for public display should be stored on the ground floor, while the collections would be stored in the storeys above. Separating the main collection from the exhibits seemed a revolutionary idea at the time.
Destruction and Reconstruction
The generously proportioned exhibition halls are arranged around a central atrium on the ground floor of the Museum. Two staircases lead to the collection wings at the back.
The East Wing of the Museum was completely destroyed by bombs on February 3rd 1945. Its reconstruction began at the end of 2006.It reopened in September 2010 to house the wet collections of the Museum and a preparation theatre.