Das Naturhistorische Museum
Museum of Natural History

An established collection of three kingdoms of nature

The natural history collection makes a substantial contribution to the exploration of the biodiversity of certain insects (phthiraptera). The territorial focus of the museum lies on the southeast of Thuringia. EIt presents a showcase with birds and mammals, a phylogeographic exhibition, a historical outline of the 250 years old museum and a natural history collection.

The natural history collection

The natural history collection, a separate collection, is located in a room on the upper floor of the northern wing and designed in the way as it may have looked like in its heyday at the end of the 18th century.

The collections consisting of the three classic kingdoms of nature (stone, plant and animal kingdom) were originally displayed in seven rooms that became too small later on. The reconstructed exhibition comprises the following collections:

  • birds in small dioramas
  • insects and other articulate animals
  • conchylia
  • fossils
  • stones
  • minerals
  • liquid preparations of articulate animals
  • fishes (also dry preparations)
  • amphibians
  • reptiles
  • birds and mammals
  • skeletons and parts of vertebrates
  • so called curiosities (e.g. human fetuses, bezoars and a skeleton of a “lilliputian”)
  • wood
  • plant fruits
  • herbaria specimen sheets
  • sponges
  • stony and leather corals
  • echinoderms and more.

The number of single objects amounts to several thousand. More items (e.g. bugs, butterflies and fossils) are hidden inside the drawers. The bulging, confusing abundance, but nevertheless, aesthetically presented collections including the furnishing was typical for natural history collections of the 17th and 18th century. 


The showcases were opened to the public together with the natural history collection. It is impressive because of its variety of species – about 300 national and international birds and 30 mammals. The habitus are represented in a dense, stack-room manner. About two thirds of the exhibits are historically valuable; the oldest ones date back to the second half of the 19th century. The other objects were made during the last 50 years and show modern preparation techniques. The showcases also comprises a part of the insects collection and the collection of plants which can be viewed in special guided tours.

Geographical animal distribution

As a preview to the planned permanent exhibition “The distribution of animals – the phylogeographic terrestrial regions” , typical examples of the oriental and Australian zones and the Indo Australian intermediate region (Wallacea) are displayed. A diorama makes you discover animals of the tropical rainforest of South America (Neotropic). Insects, birds and some mammals of these three regions are primarily shown.

“From the collection to the perception of nature”

In 2007, on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the natural history museum, an exhibition under this title was opened outlining the historical development of the collections until today. On the basis of the natural history collection, exhibits of the animal and stone kingdom in separate showcases and parts of the collection with documents and results of the scientific work are displayed. Conchylia, corals, butterflies, birds, mammals, plants, animal and plant fossils as well as stones, minerals and meteorites are taken into consideration. The second part of the exhibition is dedicated to issues as the exploration of the diversity of native insects, the interaction with flamingos, the convergence (animals with a similar appearance but not related to each other), the meaning of a biological species or of the coevolution. Modern taxidermy specimens of endangered animals, e.g. of the snow and amur leopard and the sika deer are displayed in one showcase while in another one seven types of pheasants draw the attention because of their gorgeous plumage.



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