Hearty welcome to the press portal of the Francke Foundations!
Here you will find our text and image material for current reporting.

Photographic and filming permission

For all filming and photography in the Francke Foundations, including outdoor shots on the premises, you need a permit. You can fill out the form directly, save it and send it to us.  Please get in touch with us in good time before you start work so that we can ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Latest Press releases

Every Friday the committed children of the school nursery August Hermann Francke draw our attention to the fact that there is no earth B. We know that the resources on earth are limited. A responsible use of raw materials is important if we want to give our children a future on the planet. Upcycling or recycling are catchwords that change our consumer behaviour right into private households. Existing materials are converted to conserve resources and put to a new use. One of the largest consumer products in Germany is paper, the production of which involves large quantities of wood. This is no longer produced in Germany, but increasingly purchased where sustainability standards are not so high. Often, primeval forests and rain forests are affected, which we desperately need for the earth's climate.

The Francke Foundations are aware of their responsibility and have consistently decided to operate sustainably within the region. A survey of our readers showed that many have already switched to digital communication channels. Nevertheless, some would still like information on the Francke Foundations on paper. In order to keep the impact on the environment to a minimum, we are converting our printed matter to 99% recycled paper with the annual magazine 2019. Here we are confident of our origin and can continue to work with regional printers. And we have a request: if you have read our information material, throw it into the blue bin. So you can feed it back into the value cycle.




  • New large illustrated book on 19 European cabinets of curiosities ("Cabinet of Curiosities", Taschen Publishing House, July 2020) focuses on the opulent cabinet of curiosities of the Francke Foundations, which can be considered the only completely preserved one of its kind.
  • The world-famous Kunstkammer of the Russian Tsar Peter the Great is not represented in the illustrated book, but nevertheless belongs to the cultural house of Europe: On October 12-13, 2020, the Francke Foundations will establish a »European Network of Premodern Museums« with the Kunstkammer of Peter the Great in St. Petersburg (Russia) and the Teylers Museum in Haarlem (Netherlands)
  • SAVE THE DATE: Invitation to a European press event with museum directors, prime minister and ambassadors
    October 13, 2020 | 10:00 a.m. | Francke Foundations | Historical Orphanage Franckeplatz 1, House 1

In July 2020, the publisher Taschen published the opulent work »Cabinet of Curiosities«. 19 European Cabinets of Curiosities are presented here. On the cover picture, the crowning motif of the plant cabinet of the Cabinet of Artefacts and Natural Curiosities of the Francke Foundations is illuminated. It is the only European Cabinet of Curiosities of the Baroque period that has been completely preserved and can be viewed in its authentic location and with its historical furniture to this day. »The uniqueness of the Wunderkammer of the Francke Foundations lies in the fact that all the basic components of the original Baroque Wunderkammer have been preserved: over 3,000 objects from the fields of art and life, the precisely fitting collection cabinets of the Cabinet with their impressive, colorful crowning paintings, the original room in the former dormitory of the Historic Orphanage, as well as the museum-theoretical concept of the presentation based on the catalogs from the 18th century,« explains the director of the Francke Foundations, Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Bahlke. Exactly 25 years ago, on October 12, 1995, he, as archivist and historian, was able to reopen the chamber in its original location after extensive research of sources.

The volume »Cabinet of Curiosities« lacks an important collection of the early modern period: The Kunstkammer of the Russian Tsar Peter the Great, who at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries consistently opened the Russian Empire to Europe and set up his collection along the lines of the European Chambers of Curiosities. Partner of the Francke Foundations for 25 years is the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography »Peter the Great« - Art Camera of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Here the preserved objects of the collection of Peter the Great are exhibited in the specially constructed historical building on the banks of the Neva directly opposite the Hermitage. On the initiative of the Francke Foundations, this renowned institution is a founding member of the Network.

On October 12, 2020, the Francke Foundations (Germany) and the Kunstkamera (Russia) will meet with the Wunderkammer expert Arthur MacGregor (Great Britain) and the Teylers Museum in Haarlem (Netherlands) for a founding workshop for a »European Network of Premodern Museums«. The idea of founding the network is based on the knowledge that the early modern Cabinets of Curiosities in Europe were connected in many ways.

Today, cultural institutions can be the bond that holds the House of Europe together inside. The founding members from Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Russia consciously want to set this accent and expand the new network step by step. Of common interest are the exchange on current questions of museum handling of traditional cabinets of curiosities or their preserved components, professional expertise, provenance research, the development of future scenarios for the presentation and research of collections, but also the question of joint publications. Research in this field is particularly promising from a scientific point of view. Two major events frame the founding workshop: October 12th will mark the 25th anniversary of the reopening of the Kunst- und Naturalienkammer following the renovation of the Historic Orphanage. This anniversary will be celebrated on October 13, 2020 with a press conference on the founding of the network (10 a.m.) and a ceremony in the Freylinghausen Hall with a high level of political participation by the European countries represented and the State of Saxony-Anhalt (11 a.m.). The Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography »Peter the Great« - Art Camera plans to restore the Russian Tsar's Wunderkammer in 2022 for the 350th anniversary of Peter the Great.

The press is invited to a press conference with the experts of pre-modern collections on October 13 at 10 a.m. directly after the founding workshop. Prof. Dr. Arthur MacGregor, the director of the Francke Foundations, Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Bahlke, the director of the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography »Peter the Great« - Kunstkamera, Prof. Dr. Andrei Golovnev, and the director of the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, Dr. Marjan Scharloo, will present the idea of the network and the upcoming projects and will be available for discussion. A visit to the Cabinaet of Artefacts and Natural Curiosities in the Historic Orphanage is possible before and after the event.

Please send your photo and picture requests in advance to ensure a smooth process.

Films on individual objects of the Kunst- und Naturalienkammer and information on the illustrated book on the collection are available on the exhibition page.

  • »In the quarry of time. Erdgeschichten und die Anfänge der Geologie« Annual Exhibition of the Francke Foundations 2020
  • 'Cultural-historical exhibition with photos of the Canadian Edward Burtynsky (Anthropocene, 2018) and sounds by Dominik Eulberg
  • Scientific catalog with the Anthropocene experts Christian Schwägerl and Reinhold Leinfelder as well as the journalist and creationism opponent Thomas Junker
  • Exhibition opening on 20.09.2020, 11 am with the science journalist Christian Schwägerl (GEO, ZEIT Wissen, FAZ)


Dear Sir or Madam,

In their annual exhibition, the Francke Foundations present one of the great events of the early modern period: the discovery of the Earth's time. For this, the curators put the magnifying glass on the Halle scholarly cosmos of the 18th century with the pietistic Orphanage and the Brandenburg-Prussian Friedrichs-University. This center of the Early Enlightenment is located in the middle between the geologically most diverse low mountain range in Germany, the Harz Mountains, and the Bergakademie in Freiberg (founded in 1765), the fifth in the series of worldwide educational institutions for mining science. The local cultural and historical collections, the library of the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina - National Academy of Sciences, the university and state library of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the archive and library of the Francke Foundations, reflect the broad interest in geological phenomena as well as in the discovery of the history of the earth. Their treasures illustrate for the first time in an exhibition the birth of geology as a science.

Visitors can expect an emotional and excitingly staged exhibition tour from the prehistory of geology to the development of modern geosciences in the 19th century with an excursion to the present. The show leads vividly through seemingly contradictory theories of the origin of the earth, through scholarly disputes, economic interests and the loss of the primacy of the Bible to a look into the abyss of the geological era. Alchemists who sought the pure, physical theologians who wanted to discover the perfection of creation, cameralists who fought for the utilization of resources, university professors and scientifically highly educated dilettantes and collectors, networked in a worldwide community of scholars, will, as Neptunists, volcanists, catastrophists or actualists, strive to gain a scientifically founded idea of the history and geological structure of the earth. The exhibition does not dismiss the public without a scientifically founded view of the Anthropocene, in which for the first time mankind radically changed the geological formation of the earth.

»We were particularly interested in what motivated people to engage with inanimate nature,« says Dr. Claus Veltmann, custodian and with Tom Gärtig curator of the exhibition. To this end, they were able to work, among other things, with the unique estate of the geological autodidact Christian Keferstein (1784-1866), who went down in history as the creator of the first geological map of Germany. 300 geological maps, almost 600 letters and a specialist library comprising 2000 volumes make up the collection that is now kept in the archive and library of the Francke Foundations.

The exhibition designers from the Formikat agency ( among others, Verkehrsmuseum Dresden 2018 Ich.Fahr.Rad and 2019 Von Prunkgondeln, Prachtkutschen und Pferdeäpfeln) put the 250 exhibition objects, including loans from the Halle Collections, the custody of the Bergakademie in Freiberg, the Museum of Natural History in Berlin or the impressive rock collection of the Central Magazine of Natural Science Collections of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, in an exciting setting. They focus on the sensual and emotional experience. Texts about the objects can only be found in the free booklet accompanying the tour. Films by Murat Haschu and sounds by Dominik Eulberg, the »Nature DJ from the Westerwald« (ARD), allow us to immerse ourselves in the earth's history. The photographs of the Canadian Edward Burtynsky make us think. With his works on industrial landscapes, he documents how the environment is changed by unbridled globalized financial and economic interests. The exhibition tour ends with a selection of his impressive photographs of mines and open-cast mines around the world.

»Im Steinbruch der Zeit. Erdgeschichten und die Anfänge der Geologie«
September 20, 2020 – March 21, 2021
Annual Exhibition in the Historic Orphanage
Francke Foundations | Franckeplatz 1 | 06110 Halle

Information and accompanying program
Tel +49(0)345-21 27 450 |

Entrance 6 Euro, red. 4 Euro, children up to 18 years free

exhibition catalog

The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated scientific catalog with contributions by outstanding authors, which presents in detail the struggle for order and knowledge on the way to the discovery of the Earth's time in the 18th century. The catalog does not stop at history. In the final chapter, he gives the floor to the science journalist Christian Schwägerl (GEO, ZEIT Wissen, FAZ) and the paleontologist and geobiologist Reinhold Leinfelder (Professor at the Free University of Berlin), who open up a view of the Anthropocene with scientific facts. In an excursus, the biology historian, non-fiction author and publicist Thomas Junker will speak on the ongoing discourse on evolution and creation, which is fired above all by the creationists.

Im Steinbruch der Zeit. Erdgeschichten und die Anfänge der Geologie. Hrsg. im Auftrag der Franckeschen Stiftungen von Tom Gärtig und Claus Veltmann. Halle 2020 (Kataloge der Franckeschen Stiftungen, 37).
264 S., 187 Abb., € 28,00; ISBN 978-3-447-11383-0

We look forward to presenting the exhibition and the catalog at a press conference in Halle on September 17, 2020 at 11 a.m.

If you wish to attend the opening of the annual exhibition on September 20, 2020 at 11 a.m., please register with us in good time.

Your Dr. Kerstin Heldt and Friederike Lippold