Museums in Hamburg – 7 Scientific Collections Worth a Visit

Whether art, history or technology – many museums in Hamburg are known far beyond the hanseatic city and enjoy an international reputation. The 20 scientific collections of the University of Hamburg are no less renowned, but often less well-known. Even many citizens of Hamburg do not know what unusual and exciting museums the city has to offer. We’ve picked 7 museums and scientific collections definitely worth a visit:


1 – The Mineralogical Museum Hamburg

The collection of the Mineralogical Museum, which has existed since 1843, contains about 90,000 objects and is thus one of the largest of its kind in Germany. Since 1969, the museum has been located in the Grindelallee. Previously the collections and exhibits were part of the Natural History Museum of Hamburg. Visitors can expect more than 1,500 exhibits here, e.g. minerals, precious stones and even meteorites. Researching these extraterrestrial objects is one of the museum’s main focuses. Today, the meteorite collection alone comprises around 950 objects, which were brought together by expeditions from all over the world. The collection is still used for geoscientific teaching and research at the University of Hamburg. Visitors also have the opportunity to have their own finds determined in the museum.

Mineralogisches Museum
Grindelallee 48, 20146 Hamburg
further information


Medizinhistorisches Museum Hamburg

The Museum of Medical History Hamburg


2 – The Museum of Medical History Hamburg

The scientific collections of the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) were brought together at the Museum of Medical History Hamburg. Here the historical objects, pictures and documents are made accessible to the public. Furthermore, the scientists of the Institute of History and Ethics of Medicine use the collections for their research, e.g. the Moulage Collection. The collection was founded partly in 1889 in Berlin and partly in 1926 in Hamburg and consists of wax imitations of diseases, especially on the skin. Today, the Moulage Collection of the UKE, which contains approximately 600 objects, is one of the largest of its kind in German-speaking countries.

Not accessible to the public are the Anatomical Collection, founded in 1919, which consists of several hundred models of the human body, as well as the collection of the Institute of Legal Medicine, founded in 1962. This collection is used for the training of legal physicians, since the preparations show typical consequences of crimes and the way in which different acts of violence are carried out.

Medizinhistorisches Museum Hamburg und Moulagensammlung
Martinistraße 52, 20246 Hamburg
further information


3 – Hamburger Sternwarte

The collection of the observatory, the so called Sternwarte, was founded in 1802. Since 1906 the collection has been stored in Hamburg-Bergedorf. In 1968 the observatory, with its collection of about 500 objects, became part of the University of Hamburg. Even today, the telescopes of the observatory are used for astronomical research, with the main focus on x-ray and infrared astronomy. In addition, the Digital Plate Archive, which covers around 35,000 objects, is also accessible online.

Hamburger Sternwarte
August-Bebel-Straße 196, 21029 Hamburg
further information


4 – The Geological-Palaeontological Museum Hamburg

The collection of the Geological-Palaeontological Museum, which has been in operation since 1843, contains more than 100,000 objects. Just like the collection of the Mineralogical Museum, this once belonged to the Natural History Museum Hamburg, before it was made accessible to the public at the present location since 1977. The collection includes approximately 70 million years old fossils from the Längerdorf mine in Schleswig-Holstein, more than 6,000 amber stones and some 5,000 fossil octopus.

Geologisch-Paläontologisches Museum        
Bundesstraße 55, 20146 Hamburg
further information


Museum für Nutzpflanzen im Loki Schmidt Haus

Museum für Nutzpflanzen at the Loki Schmidt House


5 – The Museum of Plants Hamburg

In order to examine the quality of the goods and plant raw materials introduced by international trade to Hamburg, independent test laboratories were established in the 19th century in the hanseatic city. As a reference for these laboratories, scientific collections were created. The historic background of the Museum of Plants can be traced back to such reference collections, namely the Algae Collection of the then Hamburg mayor Dr. Binder (1870) and the Carpological Collection of the City Physics Dr. Bueck (1879). In 1883, the Botanical Museum was founded as a predecessor of today’s museum. Today, the collection includes about 60,000 objects. The focus is on crops of the tropics and subtropics. The exhibition in the Loki Schmidt House, named after the researcher and conservationist (1919-2010), conveys the importance of crops of all kinds. The museum is located on the grounds of the Botanical Garden of the University of Hamburg, the Loki-Schmidt-Garden in Hamburg-Klein Flottbek.

Museum für Nutzpflanzen, Loki Schmidt Haus
Ohnhortstraße 18, 22609 Hamburg
further information


6 – The Zoological Museum of Hamburg

The research collections of the Zoological Museum Hamburg (ZHM) consist of eight core areas with more than 10 million objects, e.g. a mammalian collection, an insect collection or a spider and millipedes collection. These collections once belonged to the Natural History Museum of Hamburg, founded in 1843. Later, the objects were assigned to the State Institute and Zoological Museum Hamburg and integrated into the University of Hamburg in 1969. Today, the museum is a research facility for biodiversity of deep-sea organisms. The collection of crayfish and seaworms caught by research vessels at sea is even the largest of its kind in Germany.

Biozentrum Grindel und Zoologisches Museum
Martin-Luther-King-Platz 3, 20146 Hamburg
further information


7 – The Collection of the Art History Seminar of the University of Hamburg

The collection of the Art History Seminar is not a museum, but four archives. Founded in 1931, the German Bible-Archive contains microforms of medieval Bible manuscripts and a collection of illustrated Bibles from the 20th century. Furthermore, there is a Photographic Archive, established in 1921, which includes more than 20,000 reproductions and focuses on Italian Renaissance painting and Albrecht Dürer’s works. There is also a GDR-Archive, founded in 1993. This archive contains more than 3,000 publications on the art of the GDR, as well as 10,000 iconographic reproductions of GDR art and architecture. Finally, the Archive for the Investigation of Material Iconography, founded in 1995, is part of the collection. The archive consists of about 18,000 reproductions of works of art on 52 materials as well as a literature database. A visit to all collections is possible by arrangement.

Sammlungen des Kunstgeschichtlichen Seminars
Edmund-Siemens-Allee 1, Westflügel, 20146 Hamburg
further information


Pictures: Angelika Schoder – Hamburg 2014-2016

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