Landesmuseum Hannover: Manmade

I must admit that I was terribly hard to narrow it down to just about 20 pictures for this. I’m an archaeologist so of course I’m smitten with old artifacts whenever I see them but I tried to just pick out the highlights for you.

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

The setup of the archaeological exhibition alone was lovely, with back-lit watercolour illustration.

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

I just love looking at various materials marked by time. Finding wooden artifacts like those above is one of the most exciting thing for an archaeologist, by the way, because it makes dating the thing so much easier (and also it’s beautiful).

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

Oh Bronze Age. Your designs never cease to amaze me. Isn’t this bowl beautiful?

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

I’m always pretty smitten with these kind of ornaments and the flow in the overall shape of the pieces themselves.

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | HedgefairyI’d absolutely have these in my tea mug collection. I’m always sad when museum shops only carry the usual stuff like postcards, catalogues and the stuff every museum shop has but no interesting replicas or other non-paper things connected to the actual exhibitions.

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

This was the only decent picture I was able to take of pieces of the Roman exhibition, sadly. My main field of interest being Roman invaders’ contact with other cultures I think that’s a pity.

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

This gamelan set is being played regularly for concerts. The museum also has a Japanese tea-house that is used for tea ceremony demonstrations. I still have to go to one of these!

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

I was really in love with the overall exhibition of Pacific arts and crafts. And the ships remind me of Moana, of course.

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

One was supposed to go through the local pre- and early historic exhibition first, I think, but I completely trailed off and took a detour through the ethnological collection… Anyway, the Medieval collection that I finally came back to was really lovely as well.

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

Landesmuseum Hannover: Menschenwelten | Hedgefairy

I’m a bit sorry this one got so very archaeology-heavy but I want to go back anyway and hopefully I can bring back some more pictures of the ethnological collection then, too!

Click here for Part 1: Nature.

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Landesmuseum Hannover: Nature

106_1191When my father visited we went for a stroll though the city. When we passed an impressively large old building we went to investigate what it was and found it to be the Lower Saxony State Museum.106_1183Going to museums has always been “our” thing. When I was younger and visited him every fortnight we went to a museum every Sunday morning. And continuing this tradition we decided to go in.106_1188I’m splitting the picture for this museum into several parts (as I did before when I wrote about the Hessian State Museum in Darmstadt), Nature, man-made things and fine art, as this is one of those museums you’ll spend half a day in and still haven’t seen everything up close.106_1120106_1123We started with the depths of the sea, flooded with bluish lighting. Not only do they display skulls of sea mammals and fish there, no, they also have a vivarium that makes you feel like you’re in something part zoo, part museum. I don’t think I’ll have to mention that this is a great hit with the younger visitors (and me as well).106_1115I found myself taken with the beautiful aquariums even a bit more for the lush green flora and miniature landscapes (or rather, underwaterscapes) than for their scaly inhabitants.106_1126106_1125Right next to the piranha aquarium was a skull of one of their ancestors in a ghostly light, reminding us that those pouty lips hide absurdly sharp teeth and the pleasant chill down a childs spine when they wade into a lake thinking of those monsters (in central Europe where there are no piranhas, but did I care when I was eight? No, I did not).106_1140106_1141106_1178106_1149I really liked this display. It felt a bit like a bottled-up holiday by the seaside.106_1152106_1166To give you a bit of the scale of this quartz rock, here’s the bigger picture. It was lit from the bottom, emanating a magical glow that made it strangely special in this huge collection of things in a now brightly lit showroom.
I also love the transition from the Under The Sea exhibition to (more or less because Lower Saxony has quite a bit of moorland) dry land.

106_1167106_1164The nature exhibition, located in the parterre of the building, ended with something that looked like a giant, glass-walled birdcage with all kinds of specimen captured and stuffed in flight or rest. I’m always so very fascinated by shimmering feathers.106_1194106_1197I wish they had quartz crystals in the souvenirs shop, I would surely have gotten one.

Field Trip: Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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In the context of our class on museum concepts we visited Frankfurt in late December. Having spent not a small amount of time of my childhood and teenage years in the city I already knew several of the many museums there, but the Historical Museum was none of them. We also visited the Archaeological Museum (being a class of archaeologists and everything, pictured above) and the Caricatura, but both had a ban on photographs, flash or no flash, so sadly no pictures of really great Roman and early Medieval finds (set up in an old monastery, no less!). I apologise.

Anyway, the Historical Museum is mainly centered around Collectors and Donors of Frankfurt, their main exhibition. We sadly had to skip the toll tower so I surely have a reason to come back and take a less rushed look sometime soon (three museums in seven hours are a lot too much. Believe me.). Their current special exhibition was on ‘Arsenic and New Medicine’, 19th century pharmacy, accompanied by some early 20th century examples, too.

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I must say that, while the building is charming, the fact that you have to go down to the cellars first to actually start your tour is a little bit confusing, especially because you’ll land in an un-decorated vault first, something a friend titled “an exhibition of waste of space” which wasn’t completely off. The waiting area is nice-ish, though.

Off to the more interesting part of the cellars!

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The museum is built on site and uses parts of the old Staufish court, and the vaulted cellars are part of that.

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There’s a model of the court including the toll tower with small zograscopes at several point which show scenes from the daily life during the 12th and 13th century.

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The model can even be opened like a doll house (not just this apse, the roof, too)!

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See the square in the “ground”? It was some sort of secret (or not so secret, we’re not sure) entrance to a vault beneath the court chapel:

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These are not the original regalia of Charlemagne, sadly, but mere replicas. At some point however there were riches and treasures stored down there, and it probably worked as a medieval panic room, too.

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Leaving the old sewer system and the vault behind the several upper floors are something completely different. Also the staircase is nice.

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The whole exhibition on collectors from Frankfurt is very nicely done. The example above are pinned butterflies and moths and a very neat pair of old field guides divided from the rest of the room by canvas hangings printed with the illustrations from the exhibited books.

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I wish I had more halfway decent pictures of the weaponry. The rapier above was the one I’d chosen from the array, and I thought the intarsia on an old musket were really pretty, too.

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I have a thing for old-fashioned packaging design, so the special exhibition was quite up my alley. I really enjoyed the subtle differences in the pinks of the Pyramidon packaging.

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There’s so much I still wanted to show you but with hurrying through there was too little time to take pictures of everything. I’ll have to put you off until my next visit there, but until then I promise you at least one last museum from my field trips.

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I’m rather sorry about the low quality of the pictures, especially once I got out of the cellars. My camera’s battery was low (memo to self: always check the night before) and I shot in a hurry without regards to lighting or stability. Anyway, another reason to return!

Anyone in the area in for tea at IIMORI’s and a museum visit (preferably dolled up)?

HLMD: Animals and Archaeology

Here we go, the promised second post about the HLMD, this time about the natural history and archaeology collections. If you are sensitive towards taxidermy this might not be the post for you. Just saying. I left out the dissected pigeons, though.

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They put the Bad Vilbel Oceanus mosaic right next to the entrance under a glass roof mocking an atrium, a well-made presentation for the biggest Roman mosaic we have in Hesse.

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I think she looks a bit like a Tove Jansson character, to be honest.

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The non-antiquity archaeological exhibition of the HLMD is located right next to the Art Nouveau den on the subterranean level of the museum in the old workshops. This means that they don’t have much space to showcase their exhibits but they did the best job they could with what they were given.

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I might have a thing for early medieval damascened belt buckles. Or damascened things in general.

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See that hatchet on the top? That’s my favourite form, Lanquaid II.

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On the other side of the corridor there are two courtyards, this is the Gothic one. All the fern and the high walls make it a place perfect for fairytale or myth readings.

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Enough with the remains of generations past, onwards to zoology.

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The Darmstadt Dioramas are special as they are part of the original concept of the HLMD, all the way back from 1906 (the taxidermy is even older!). They were luckily not destroyed during WWII, but restored with a little help from old photographs and are now again part of the show.

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They call it the skeleton herd. I call it the skeleton army.

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The main focus of this department is biodiversity, and how preparation works.

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Some of the exhibited tools and of course taxidermy is from the 18th century when the museum was founded as the personal Wunderkammer collection of the local prince.
They also have two of the most fabulous pigeons ever.

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The museum is so large that they have guided tours themed for each bigger department. Zoology alone can keep you busy for two hours or so.

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Aaand we’re done. Good riddance, HLMD, at least for another year! Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful museum, just not when you visit it twice in one week and both times heavily pressed for time and your professor messes up the timing for your presentation (I’ve been the tiniest bit stressed out lately).

Anyway, this is a great example for a museum that came from a noble’s collection, stuffed with interesting things and able to keep you busy for a whole day. Again, they have a website, and now you won’t have to read another post on museums until the middle of December. ^^

HLMD: Arts and Crafts

Time for another museum! This time it’s the Hessische Landesmuseum Darmstadt (Hessian County Museum set in Darmstadt) or HLMD for short. This is the museum I had to present during the seminar on museum and exhibition concepts and maybe it’s because of that or because the museum is HUGE with its 18,000m² that I took so many pictures that I’ll divide the post in two. I’ll have one for arts and crafts (which also includes Arts & Crafts pieces) and one for natural history and archaeology. This is the Arts and Crafts one. Let’s go!

The current building was designed especially for this museum which was given to the public in 1820 by then-ruler of Hesse-Darmstadt, Ludewig I., who had inherited the initial items for his growing collection of botanical and physical items from his mother, Karoline Henriette. He then added arts and crafts, and thus the museum came to be.
His successor Ernst Ludwig (yes, we had a lot of those) commissioned the new building in 1897 and it only took eight years to complete so in 1906 its gates finally opened for the public once more.

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Most of the gallery is housed in a newer building from the 1980s, funnily it’s the older paintings that are exhibited there, the collection of modern art after 1945 is set up in the old building. They have a horribly large collection of Joseph Beuys’ works but gladly I wasn’t allowed to take pictures there, so I can’t even bother you with photographs of lard lumps and felt even if I wanted to. (I don’t.)
To balance it out their old masters’ collection is wonderful, among Cranach and Rubens they even have Waterhouse’s Belle Dame Sans Merci (but I was too busy staring at it in awe to take a picture).

While we’re at it, why don’t we start with the gallery?

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The rooms are beautifully arranged, and other than the old building the new one has wooden floors instead of stone and lower ceilings, causing less echoes and general audible distraction.

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The Jugendstil and Art Nouveau collection is located in the former workshops for the restaurateurs and taxidermists on the subterranean level of the museum. Especially the extensive jewelery section is beautifully arranged, it felt just like a fancy jeweler’s showroom.

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Of course the cases are originals.

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This Fabergé storks-and-mistletoe New Year’s gift necklace is probably my favourite from the whole collection. Then again, I’m always a fan of mistletoe ornaments, so Art Nouveau is the perfect period for me to look.

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Yet the Lalique peacock ivory comb isn’t too shabby, either.

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This beautiful ornament was part of the original Métro design from Paris. I’m thinking about using it as a template for an embroidery or something like that.

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Even though it’s only a test for glazes I think it’s beautiful.

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And that’s a real Morris. I’ve been in reach of a real Morris window! *faints*
Her face is a bit off, though.

Upstairs is the artisan gallery, and one of the displays I was most interested in was the one for textiles.

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The garments – the collection is actually bigger, but only few of them are being presented at a time as they are very fragile – were put on rotating mannequins, a very neat idea.

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They even had a glass harmonica (I have a thing for unusual instruments).

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There’s a whole room dedicated to the reception of antiquity with cork models and paintings.

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I’m glad they put it into perspective like that, and the field glasses are a great idea, too.

To close on the art and artisanry part let’s have a look into what they call the treasury.

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The lighting concept in there is beautiful, the room is dark and only the showcases are lit, making the beautiful items in there glitter and gleam.

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***

And here we end with part one. For more information and exhibits, have a look at the HLMD website or wait for the second part, or both.