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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | About the university | History | University collections and the Humboldt-Forum

University collections and the Humboldt-Forum

In over three hundred years of research and teaching, the university has accumulated a true treasury of objects.

The mask of Agamemnon from the collections of the Winckelmann-Institute

One hundred different scientific collections house over three million items - ranging from specimen collected during the travels of Alexander von Humboldt, to the Physical Cabinet, the Natural Sciences Collection and the Chemical Laboratory, to name but a few. Many are on permanent display, such as the impressive collection of ancient statues and reliefs cast in plaster.

With over 25 million objects, the Natural Sciences Collection is located in the Natural History Museum, which was Founded in 1889 and became a member of the prestigious scientific association G.W. Leibniz in 2009. The collection includes the best preserved fossil of the prehistoric bird Archaeopteryx lithgografica and the world's largest mounted dinosaur skeleton of a Brachiosaurus.

Among the university's most treasured collections are also the Anatomical Collection, dating back to medical scientist Rudolf Virchow, the collection of ancient artefacts, the archive of sounds and the private library of the brothers Grimm.

A large part of the objects came to the university when Wilhelm von Humboldt decreed that the scientific institutes of the Berlin Sozietät and the Academy of the Sciences should be merged with the university. Large parts of the art chamber of the former Berlin palace became property of the university for research and teaching purposes.

Today, the art chamber is the core of the "Humboldt-Forum", a city-wide collaboration of Humboldt-Universität, the Central and Regional Library Berlin and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. Once the city palace has been reconstructed in the vicinity of Humboldt-Universität's main building, the university will organise exhibitions and events there to provide a academic context for the dialogue with non-European cultures and thus create a platform for the sciences.