The history of the museum

For over 200 years….

The State Museum of Natural History Karlsruhe emerged from the Margrave and Badenian collections of curiosities and specimens of natural history.

The interest and dedication of Margravine Caroline Luise of Baden helped expand the collection to a scientifically significant exhibition between 1752 and 1783. In 1784, the cabinet of natural history was moved to the facilities of the court library, and it was first opened to the bourgeoisie as a museum in 1785. In other words, the collections of today's natural history museum have been open to the public for over two hundred years!

The museum's current location at Friedrichsplatz was built between 1866 and 1872 and designed to house the cabinet of natural history and the court library. The building was destroyed by bombs in 1942, and many valuable items were lost. The rebuilding process was completed in 1972. Today, the State Museum of Natural History Karlsruhe once again ranks amongst the major museums of its kind in Germany.

The Natural History Museum Karlsruhe of 1892
Das Naturkundemuseum Karlsruhe im Jahre 1892
The Natural History Museum Karlsruhe of the Late 19th century
Das Naturkundemuseum Karlsruhe im späten 19. Jahrhundert
The Natural History Museum Karlsruhe after the bomb raid of September 2-3, 1942
Das Naturkundemuseum Karlsruhe nach dem Bombenangriff in der Nacht vom 2. auf den 3. September 1942

…with an eye to the future

Prof. Dr. Norbert Lenz has been the director of the natural history museum since May 2008.

Under his direction, we will continue to pursue the broad spectrum of our research and uphold our responsibility as a conveyor of knowledge via numerous exhibitions and educational events.

Margravine Caroline Luise of Baden (1723-1783), painting by J.W. Hauwiller
Carl Christian Gmelin (1762-1837), der erste Direktor des Naturalienkabinetts, Gemälde von Ott, um 1800
Carl Christian Gmelin (1762-1837), the museum´s first director, painting by Ott, ca. 1800
Das Naturkundemuseum Karlsruhe im Jahre 1892