Leipzig's museums and art collections
Leipzig's art treasures, museums and collections have always played an important role in the city's history. They include collections begun by city institutions and the university as well as private collections or privately owned works of art given to the city's public. As a consequence, Leipzig's municipal library now hosts one of the oldest music collections in Germany.
The city's list of noteworthy museums and collections includes the Museum of City History in the Old Town Hall and its extension in Böttchergässchen. Alongside a permanent exhibition on Leipzig's history it regularly hosts special exhibitions. The Museum of City History also operates a number of individual museums and sites in the city, including the Monument to the Battle of the Nations/ Forum 1813 (a museum on the Battle of the Nations), the coffee museum Museum Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum, the Schiller House in Leipzig-Gohlis, the Sports Museum, and the archive of the civic movement Archiv Bürgerbewegung Leipzig e. V.
Leipzig's Museum of Fine Arts was founded in 1837 by the arts association Leipziger Kunstverein. Donations by arts foundations and generous individuals facilitated the building of a collection of about 2,700 paintings (from the late Middle Ages to the present), 750 sculptures and more than 55,000 drawings and graphic reproductions. Its extensive collection of Cranach paintings is unique in the world. The museum also places great importance on the presentation of contemporary arts. In December 2004, the museum was moved to its new location in Katharinenstrasse near the old town hall and the Brühl.
Apart from the Museum of Fine Arts, the Gallery of Contemporary Art regularly hosts exhibitions of contemporary painting and sculpture.
The Natural History Museum, founded over 90 years ago, is dedicated to themed exhibitions primarily on topics relating to the relationship between humankind and nature, and ecology.
The Bach Museum operated by the Bach Archive opposite St Thomas' Church is dedicated to the life and work of Johann Sebastian Bach, the great composer and long-term musical director of Leipzig.
The heritage of Felix Mendelssohn is commemorated in Mendelssohn House, the place where this important composer lived and died, and which has been faithfully restored. Mendelssohn is remembered as the first modern conductor and an innovative reformer of Leipzig's musical life. Another important part of Leipzig's musical and city history can be experienced in Schumann House, where Robert and Clara Schumann spent their first four years of marriage.
The Egyptology Museum on Schillerstrasse, as well as the Museum of Antiquityin the Old St Nicholas' School, host permanent exhibitions from the collections of the University of Leipzig and the HTWK University of Applied Science.
The GRASSI Museum complex on Johannisplatz contains three separate museums. One is the University of Leipzig's Grassi Museum of Musical Instruments. With 5,000 exhibits from five centuries it is one of the most important museums of its kind in the world. The second is the Museum of Ethnology, founded more than 125 years ago and home to several important collections. In addition to its exhibitions, the museum also makes major contributions to current research and promotes understanding among different nations and cultures. The third in the Grassi complex, the Museum of Arts and Crafts was founded in 1874. In association with the Leipzig Trade Fair it became an important centre for applied arts and crafts during the 1920s.
Culturally and historically important objects of the industrial age are on display in a permanent exhibition at the GaraGe, a technology centre for young people. Leipzig's Workshops and Museum of Printing Art in Leipzig-Plagwitz are committed to the maintenance and presentation of history printing equipment and technology.
Recent history is brought to life in the Museum in the "Round Corner" (Stasi Museum). Once headquarters of the dreaded East German secret policy force of the Ministry of State Security, it now houses the permanent exhibition "STASI – Power and Banality".
Leipzig's Forum of Contemporary History affords a broader look at events of the recent past. The Forum makes history palpable including an unforgettable presentation on the history of the Soviet Occupied Zone, the German Democratic Republic and the historic developments since 1989.
The Leipzig Panometer is a visual panorama displayed inside a former gasometer. The Panometer was created in 2003 by the Austrian-born artist Yadegar Asisi, who spended some time of his youth in Leipzig. The name of the panometer is compunded of "panorama" and "gasometer". The changing themes can be watched in 360° view and span around 3000 square meters. The current Theme since August 2013 ist the Battle of Leipzig.
In the area between the panorama and the outer wall there is an exhibition on a theme related to the picture as well as a film viewing room.
The city's other museums including the Books and Manuscripts Museum of the German National Library, the German Allotment Museum, the Camera and Photo Museum, the Museum Commemorating the 1813 Battle of the Nations, the Saxon Pharmacy Museum, the Dölitz Gatehouse, and the Leipzig School Museum. These are all vivid proof of the diversity of Leipzig's museums and collections.