Ein altes Holzmodell einer Schwangeren mit geöffnetem Torsobereich.


Collection fields

The collection of the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum serves two main themes: the history of body pratices and the history of body knowledge - each of them with a focus on 20th-century Germany. Both collection fields contain several special collections, which encompass approximately 68,000 objects, including those on permanent loan. The museum's aim is to expand this collection continually through acquisitions.

Objects from the collection appear in the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum's temporary exhibitions as well as in the permanent exhibition, particularly the latter. Nowhere near all of the museum's holdings are on display, however. The objects offer a wide range of possibilities for exhibitions, publications, and research. Numerous projects around the world make use of these possibilities.

Collection Online

Research in selected parts of the collection is possible through our data base that encompasses 50,000 objects, an option that is gradually being expanded.


Collection field "Body Practises"


Weiblicher Perückenkopf von 1700. Auf ihrem Oberteil hat die weibliche Figur einen blauen Schal mit einer rosa Blume.

Wig Stand, around 1700

The Schwarzkopf Collection

For more than four decades the Hans Schwarzkopf company has assembled a fascinating collection on the history of beauty care and personal grooming. It is dedicated especially to hair care and hair styles and was entrusted to the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum on permanent loan in 1995.

This collection of more than 2,000 objects includes ancient razors and hairpins, bath and hair-styling accessories, wash bowls and pitchers, make-up tables, powder boxes, flea traps, wig stands, equipment for straightening hair and setting permanents, and many other items. They document the daily beauty care, health care, and grooming of various cultural eras ranging from the ancient world to medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, neoclassical, and modern times. An extensive collection of graphics depicting various occupations (e.g., those of the barber-surgeons, wig-makers, and perfume-makers), hairdressing scenes of the 18th century, and other motifs are an outstanding complement to the collection.

Selected parts of the Schwarzkopf Collection are on permanent display. All but a few of its objects are retrievable from the data bank. Enter the inventory code 'SK' for an overview.



"Sehnsucht nach Vollkommenheit", Ausstellungskatalog, hrsg. von der Hans Schwarzkopf GmbH, Hamburg 1995

"Die Frisur", Eine Kulturgeschichte der Haarmode von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart, hrsg. von Maria Jedding-Gesterling, Karl Wachholtz Verlag, Neumünster 1988

Edmund Launert, "Parfüm und Flakons", Georg D. W: Callwey GmbH & Co., 1985

"Das Herrenhaus Steinhorst und die Sammlung Schwarzkopf", Schriftenreihe der Stiftung Herzogtum Lauenburg Band 2, Karl Wachholtz Verlag, Neumünster 1979



Eine Scherenbrille aus Horn aus dem Jahr 1800.

Scissors-glasses, around 1800

The Münchow Collection

Dr. Wolfgang Münchow (1923-1986), an ophthalmologist from Zwickau, placed his research collection on the history of ophthalmology in the custody of the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum in 1984.

The collection encompasses more than 1,000 objects from the 17th through the 20th centuries, including historical spectacles, diagnostic and examination equipment, surgical instruments, graphics, briefs, paintings, and an extensive library on medical history. The special merit of this collection lies in its complexity, for it traces not only the most important developments in the field of ophthalmology but also the journalistic and cultural dimensions of this history.

Part of the Münchow collection are on permanent display, and of its objects can be explored through the data bank. Enter the inventory code 'M' for an overview.



"Augenheilkunde. Die Sammlung Münchow", Begleitband zur gleichnamigen Ausstellung des Deutschen Hygiene-Museums in Zusammenarbeit mit der Medizinischen Akademie "Carl Gustav Carus" Dresden, Deutsches Hygiene-Museum 1991.

Roter Kinderwagen von 1975.

Baby buggy, around 1975

The collection on the history of East German day nurseries

This collection comprises about 500 objects and documents from Dresden day nurseries in the years from 1950 through 1990. They include furniture; toys; clothing; drinking and eating utensils; objects and records on medical care, health education, and personal hygiene in the day nurseries; information boards; wall newspapers; chronicles of the nurseries; methodological materials of the day-nursery personnel; and contemporary technical literature.

Much of the collection can be explored through the data bank. Enter the keyword "Kinderkrippe" for an overview.


"Wenn Mutti früh zu Arbeit geht...", Ausstellungspublikation des Deutschen Hygiene-Museums, hrsg. von Monika Müller-Rieger, Deutsches Hygiene-Museum und Argon Verlag 1997

"Kinder brauchen Kinder - neue Wege in der Kinderbetreuung", Publikationsreihe Wissenschaft im Deutschen Hygiene-Museum, Bd. 7, hrsg. von Kisten Simon und Dorothea van Loyen, Dresden 1998

Collection field "Body Knowledge"


Aids-Aufklärungsplakat mit Kamasutramotiv.

If you think this looks dangerous, try doing it without a condom

Published by the Pi Kappa Phi Foundation, USA, around 1990

The International Collection of AIDS Posters

In 2001 the Stiftung Deutsches Hygiene-Museum acquired an international collection of AIDS posters. Subsequent purchases have already swelled it to more than 7,000 posters from more than 100 countries.

The importance of enlightening the public about AIDS is indisputable in the struggle against the disease. With posters playing a key role in disseminating the relevant knowledge, this collection shows that the same topics are under discussion throughout the world: insisting on safer sex, ensuring safer use of contraceptives and making common cause against the disease. The messages and visual strategies differ from one country to the next, indicating the national and cultural dimensions of AIDS. Posters from the second half of the 1990s document the emergence of new topics in educating the public about AIDS and reflect the effort to reach out to specific groups, such as women in Africa.

The object data bank facilitates research on approximately 1,000 posters, primarily from Germany, Switzerland, France, and African countries. For an overview enter the keyword "AIDS" and the object designation "Plakat".



Der Kopf und die Brust einer braunhaarigen Frau aus Wachs. Ihre Augen sind geschlossen und sie hat ihre linke Hand fast auf ihrer linken Brust.

Body model of a pregnant woman, Dresden, around 1880

The "Sammlung Anatomisches Panoptikum"

The collection's centerpiece is a historical anatomical waxwork cabinet which was originally created, for the most part, in Dresden around 1900. For over a hundred years, models of the human body such as these were showcased at funfairs and fairgrounds: for purposes of health education on the one hand and, on the other, as mass-appeal entertainment aimed at large sections of the population.The Sammlung Anatomisches Panoptikum is comprised of some 250 exhibits, making it one of the few collections on this scale still in existence today. A comprehensive programme of conservation and restoration measures has since been implemented in order to preserve the exhibits. The range of topics covered by the Dresden waxwork cabinet is compelling: from general anatomy to sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases, to industrial accidents and wounds sustained at war. As such it provides revealing insights into the way in which the human body, society, and the morals of the day were perceived in the late 19th century and early 20th century. 

Enter the keyword "Panoptikum" for an overview.


The historic films collection of the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum is now searchable, thanks to the project "DEFA Health Films as an Important Source for German History: The Conservation and Cataloguing of the Film Collection of the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum Dresden." The project has been recently completed in cooperation with the Berlin Film Archive of the German Federal Archives, and with the support of the DEFA Foundation and the Saxon State Office of Museums, Chemnitz. The collection primarily consists of some 200 films made for the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum. During the East German regime, these were mainly produced in the various DEFA studios. The films include such classics as Krebs ("Cancer", 1930) and Mann und Frau intim ("An Intimate Look at Men and Women", 1984), as well as health spots from the advertising series Tausend Tele-Tips.

Historical supervision and film descriptions: Dr. Uta Schwarz, Cologne

Documentation: Marion Schneider, Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden

Behind the scenes

Wachsmodell eines Mannes mit geöffnetem Torso. Im Hintergrund das Depot mit Regalen, in denen Sammlungsobjekten stehen.
Ein Gang, rechts eine weiße Wand und links eine Reihe weißer Schränke. In der Mitte steht eine Person auf einer Leiter vor dem Schrank und ihr Oberkörper ist von einer geöffneten Schranktür verdeckt.
Wachsmodell eines Mannes mit geöffnetem Torso. Im Hintergrund das Depot mit Regalen, in denen Sammlungsobjekten stehen.
Ein Gang, rechts eine weiße Wand und links eine Reihe weißer Schränke. In der Mitte steht eine Person auf einer Leiter vor dem Schrank und ihr Oberkörper ist von einer geöffneten Schranktür verdeckt.