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Petra Klausnitzer, Silke ViehmannVisitors‘ Information in Francke's House Petra Klausnitzer, Silke Viehmann (Visitors‘ Information in Francke's House) Petra Klausnitzer, Silke ViehmannVisitors‘ Information in Francke's House phone+49 345 2127450


Date: Tuesday to Sunday and Holidays: 10.00 – 17.00
Costs: 6/ 4 Euros, under 18 years of age free of charge

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Experience this cosmos of knowledge from the Baroque period

Kulissenbibliothek2_Peter  August Hermann Francke founded the library of the Francke Foundations as a public institution during the late seventeenth century. Within a few years, especially through donations consisting of closed private libraries, through exchange and through the own publishing house products of the Orphanage’s Bookshop the holdings increased to circa 18,000 volumes. The library could thus, considering its size, be compared to contemporary university collections. At present its original holdings comprise circa 90,000 books in all fields of knowledge, above all however on Church history and the history of education during the early modern period. From 1728 on, the books have been housed in purposely-built premises, which today are considered the earliest surviving, freestanding, secular library in Germany (House 22 in the Linden Courtyard). The library hall, with its original eighteenth-century furniture, is called scenery library. The reason for this is that, for the first time in German-speaking countries, the book cases were arranged in the manner of a theatre set. In this way a library space was created reflecting its practical use as opposed to the then conventional hall libraries. The construction of the library was innovative and marked an important turning point as to the internal organisation of the collections in the institutions established by August Hermann Francke. Francke thus spatially separated the Cabinet of Art and Natural History from the library, which originally had been created side by side under the alcove of the Orphanage and, as with the contemporary princely Kunstkammer, were strongly dependent upon and connected to one another. The separation of the two collections pointed towards the modern age, in which the Cabinet of Art and Natural History was to develop into a museum and the book collection into a library for public use. Nowadays, after the renovation during the late 1990s, the Kulissenbibliothek again presents itself in its impressive configuration dating from 1746.

Every book tells a story

“Indeed because of its imposing size and weight – after all, it measures 44 x 28 x 13,5 cm and weighs 9,5 kg – for example, a Bible of Lucas Osiander ( 1534-1604), bound in black leather, stands out in the first book case of the library of the Halle Orphanage. Based on the autograph on the flyleaf, Prince Anton Günther von Anhalt-Zerbst (1653-1714) donated it to the Orphanage’s library on 10 June 1709. (...) As early as 26 March of the same year the prince announced in a letter addressed to August Hermann Francke that he would present this Bible to the Orphanage’s library, which he already owned for 28 years, (...) and which ‘has served me also daily in the field and in Braband too; however, as I have read it one or two years with slightly more attention, it has occurred that I underlined numerous dicta and expressions.’ (...) The notion that this weighty book was part of the prince’s permanent baggage, even in the turmoil of armed conflict, should disclose unsuspected perspectives into the past to the modern viewer of the book.”

Source: Brigitte Klosterberg, Die Bibliothek der Franckeschen Stiftungen. Picture book, published by the Foundatiosn Publishing House.

In order to present the library’s treasures to the general public, alternating cabinet exhibitions take place in the former Reading Room adjacent to the Historic Library from 2000 on. The staff members of the August Hermann Francke Study Centre – Archive and Library will gladly provide additional information.


Information about the event

Facility: Study Centre August Hermann Francke - Library and Archive | To the facility
Date: Tuesday to Sunday and Holidays: 10.00 – 17.00
Location: House 23-24 (Franckeplatz 1, Haus 24, 06110 Halle (Saale)) | im interaktiven Lageplan anzeigen
Kinds of event:
Costs: 6/ 4 Euros, under 18 years of age free of charge

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