Viele Regalreihen mit Möbeln und anderen Objekten.

Collection Sections

About the Collection

The collection of the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum explores the history of, and historical approaches to, the human body, specifically from the beginning of the 20th century through to the present. While its main focus is on Germany, sections of its inventory are also internationally orientated. The collection comprises everyday objects that were used for personal hygiene and physical treatment, illustrating body-related practices that were typical of their time. To this day, the Museum continues to collect media and products that have been used in campaigns or exhibitions designed to popularise our knowledge of the human body. The extensive inventory of photographs revolves first and foremost around documenting the Museum’s historical exhibitions.

The complete inventory including special collections and exhibits on permanent loan comprises some 68,000 objects. The digital collection catalogue currently boasts 50,000 objects, of which the vast majority can be consulted online. The collection inventory is continually being expanded and made even more accessible.

Objects from the collection are showcased mainly at the permanent exhibition and the special exhibitions, but they are also available for use as part of external exhibition projects and for publication and research projects. It is an offer that is widely availed of by museums and scientists from all over the world.

Ein buntes Wakeboard vor weißem Hintergrund.

Wakeboard Diva 134, c. 2005

Section on Body-related Practices

In the course of the 20th century, keeping one’s body fit and healthy became standard practice. All sorts of items of everyday use serve that purpose. Unlike the more conventional emphasis that the history of mainstream medicine might apply, the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum collects these objects so that historical everyday experiences pertaining to the human body can be preserved and reconstructed. It asks questions about how these objects were used and how people interacted with them. Trivial everyday objects become intriguing museum exhibits. The answers to these questions are as diverse as the objects in this particular collection section, which includes clinical thermometers, high-frequency apparatus and radiation lamps, condoms and birth control pills, prosthetics and implants, vision and hearing aids.

Details
Sechs Wachsmodelle von verschiedenen Augenkrankheiten.

Diseases of the eye, waxworks by Emil Kotschi, c 1875

Section on Knowledge of the Human Body

From the early 20th century onwards, prevention campaigns have proved increasingly important, highlighting the risks of diseases and providing health suggestions and recommendations. Different target groups were to be reached using posters and brochures, films and exhibitions, lectures and leaflets. With its exhibitions and teaching resources such as anatomical models, moulages, specimens, wall charts, slides and films, the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum also played a pivotal role in large-scale campaigns from 1912 to 1990. The exhibits in the section on Knowledge of the Human Body retrospectively document the main themes of prevention campaigns over the past 100 years, e.g. tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS, cancer, nutrition & exercise, drugs and addictions. Beyond their direct historical purposes these media and campaign products also provide an insight into the debates about the human body as the interface between the individual and the society.

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Behind the scences...

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.

Translation by Stephen Grynwasser