museum of natural history
in the Ottoneum, Steinweg
The most significant exhibits in the Museum of Natural History include the oldest plant collection in Europe, the 400 year old "Ratzenberger herbarium", the skeleton of the "Goethe elephant" and the "Schildbach wooden library", a collection of species of wood from the 18th century, consisting of 530 artistically produced wooden books.
The focus of the permanent exhibition is on regional nature and its history. A number of landscape presentations, original fossils and specimens show how the landscape, with its flora and fauna, has altered over the course of the millennia to the present day. Dinosaurs, giant amphibians, hyenas and wolves were formerly part of the native fauna, as well as manatees or cave bears. Hundreds of species of today's fauna are presented in thematic display cases, as the "interim outcome" of this development. The exhibition concept places the exhibits at the centre of the scientific, political, educational and playful handling of the topics of regional nature and the environment.
The museum educational programme of the Museum of Natural History offers guided tours, workshops and teachers' meetings, and has a case of fossils that it loans out. In the comprehensive six-month programme, the museum offers talks, excursions, children's birthdays, story time sessions, and much more.