Follow the crocodile and start your tour of the Naturalia collection in the south of the room. For your tour, orientate yourself on the photo shown with the crowning motif or a collection detail or on the numbers of the cabinets in Roman numerals directly below the crowning painting.

Cabinet I

Small mineral and rock fragments make the crowning motif of the rock cabinet appear multi-dimensional and shine in the light.

The first display cupboard exhibits inanimate natural objects. As you can see, these include minerals and samples of volcanic rock. They also feature the organic fossils or petrifications, as they're called, which formed an essential part of any Baroque naturalia collection.

Cabinet II and III

Our tour moves on from the minerals to the corner cupboard with, as Gründler noted in his 1741 catalogue, plants that grow underwater in either rivers or seas. As you may already have noticed, these include corals and sponges, nowadays not classified as flora, but as simple organisms belonging to the animal kingdom.

Cabinet IV

A grinning leopard looks down on us from the decorative shell on top of the cupboard. He appears to be amused at how amused we are and seeing both him and the other exhibits. Gründlers grinning leopard is a neat artistic device to include the visitors themselves as exhibits to be wondered at in the Curiosities Cabinet.

Its quite surprising how well most of the specimens preserved in fluids have aged. Especially since some are over 300 years old. Find out more about the curiosities.

Cabinet V und VI

This section comprises the mollusks, a group including mollusks, clams, mussels, crustaceans, sea slugs, and above all, sea snails. Such marine creatures, then collectively known as sea insects, formed an essential part of every European cabinet of curiosities and artefacts in the Baroque period. At that time, collectors would have been prepared to pay exorbitant prices for some of these exhibits. 

What you a looking at here is known as a apothecary table. The apothecary table was not only used to store medicinal substances but also to display them to the customers. This display function makes the apothecary table especially interesting in the history of how museums developed. In the table unusual construction we can see how a museum display case evolved from a style of furniture specifically intended for storage.

Even in Gründlers day the same krokodil was hanging from the ceiling. Hardly surprising then that it seems a bit the worse for wear. After all it is nearly 300 years old. In the 17 hundreds nearly every Curiosities Cabinet would have contained a stuffed crocodile like this one.

Crocodiles [...] are hideous and cruel animals. [...] They usually stay in the river Nilo [...], but also go onto land [...] where they also devour people [...]. However, it is said that they can sometimes be made so tame that they jump on people's armpits and play with them.

Michael ValentiniMuseum Museorum (1714)

Tayé the crocodile is at the centre of our digital rescue mission for children and families "The Voices of Things". The objects in the Cabinet of Artefacts and Natural Curiosities are in danger of being forgotten. Game by game, the keepers of the Cabinet of Artefacts and Natural Curiosities can rediscover the stories at home or in the Krokoseum Children’s Creative Centre.

It's just a modeled ship but it will transport us along the root of pietism missonaries as their set of from the Francke Foundations into the wide, wide world. The Dänish-Halle Mission to India lasted from 1706 to 1837. During those years 56 missionaries left Halle for southern India. Remarkably they all survived the journey unscaved despite journeys that took anywhere from six month to tow years.

On Monday 19 July Mühlenberg was ill again because his stomach had been throwing up food for some time in the evening and morning, [...] which made him very uncomfortable [...]. At noon there was a clamour that two ships were coming towards us in full sail. [...] As the two foreign ships now had ours in the middle and wanted to fire, the captains first spoke to each other through the speaking tube and found out that they were English and therefore friends, [...] and that we were about 50 French miles from Lisbon.

Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg (1711-1787)Selbstbiografie

However, if you take a closer look at this model, you will notice some inconsistencies. Find out more about the ship and the modeller.

Cabinet VII

This display cabinet contains execlopedia, teaching books and scholarly scientific works from the era where science was still in its infancy. These books belonged to the reference library in the Curiosities Cabinet and where intendant for research purposes. After all the Curiosities Cabinet fulfilled a number of functions. It was firstly one of the earliest civic museums collections in Germany.

Cabinet 13

As you will have noticed this display cabinet belongs to those not designed by Gottfried August Gründler.This cabinet was added some years after Gründler finished his work of cataloging the collection and for the new exhibits new cabinets were added in the same style. This one holds around 600 coins, medallions and plaques stored in the flat drawers. In Addition the cabinet also displays wax death masks from people in the Halle Pietism circle.

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Waffen und Gemälde

Exhibition information

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