Photo book: Die Wunderkammer der Franckeschen Stiftungen

»Merian« recommends the Cabinet of Artefacts and Curiosities in the Historic Orphanage of the Francke Foundations as one of the 60 most beautiful museums in Germany. The Taschen publishing house lists the only completely preserved Baroque Wunderkammer in its authentic location with 18 exceptional collections throughout Europe in »Cabinets of Curiosities«. The Publishing Department of the Francke Foundations offers a richly illustrated book with unique photos and exciting texts with many source quotations from the history of the collection's origins. A unique insight into a unique museum.

In 1698, August Hermann Francke (1663-1727) founded the Orphanage's famous Cabinet of Artefacts and Curiosities to provide space for the real-life lessons he introduced. It was from the beginning an educational collection which can still be visited today. The approximately 3,000 natural objects, curiosities and artefacts in this unique collection open up the world to the visitor from a forgotten perspective. As an early modern museum room, the chamber stands for the comprehensive cosmos of knowledge of the Baroque. After several internal room changes, between 1736 and 1741 Gottfried August Gründler (1710-1775) gave it its still visible form in the former dormitory of the orphan boys of the Francke Foundations. In the original and richly decorated collection cupboards you will find such valuable objects as a whole Seychelles nut, the earliest Mongolian manuscript proven in Germany or a Hungarian cheese, a tattooed fish and all sorts of other curiosities. From the very beginning, this unique room has been open to the public, but is also intended for the real-life lessons of the school classes of the foundations.

The illustrated book offers unique insights into this overwhelming collection in 150 partly large-format photographs by Klaus E. Göltz, who is also responsible for the book layout. Thomas Müller-Bahlke, who as an archivist rediscovered the Wunderkammer in the ruinous buildings of the Francke Foundations between 1992 and 1995 and had it set up in the historic place, introduces the reader to the history of the Kunst- und Naturalienkammer am Halleschen Waisenhaus in the context of the collection traditions of the early modern period. He paints a picture of the chamber's largely unknown designer, the scholar, painter Gottfried August Gründler, and opens the doors to the very special treasures, their origins and history, cabinet by cabinet. This literary tour guarantees the reader a very special museum experience.

Fotografien von Klaus E. Göltz. Zweite, überarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage. Halle 2012. 176 S., 152 Abb., € 42,00; ISBN 978-3-447-06986-1 Bestellen