In recent years, many special exhibitions on topics in the natural, cultural, and social sciences have repositioned the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum as a museum of man. In 2004 and 2005, the museum gained yet another important dimension for its visitors when the permanent exhibition opened in two stages. Scientific developments, particularly those in reproductive medicine, brain research, or nanotechnology, pose new challenges for the museum, which until 1990 had focused on disseminating conventional information on health.
Lifelike and attractively designed classical exhibits as well as independent, hands-on learning activities have always been the salient strengths of this Dresden museum and they still are in the permanent exhibition. Encompassing an area of ca. 2.500 square meters, it presents over 1,300 objects, most of them from the museum's own collection. Items on loan from other institutions complement specially made media units and interactive displays to provide an informative and engaging museum experience. Addressing the vastly different needs of the visitors, this multifaceted approach to the topics treated in the exhibition has come to make the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum one of Europe's most interesting museums of science.
The permanent exhibition revolves around a topic that is as obvious as it is demanding: the human being. There is no attempt to make its seven theme rooms encyclopedic. The exhibition is conceived as an adventure into one's own body, self, thoughts, and feelings. The range and juxtaposition of the objects achieve the ideal of any exhibition they inspire the visitors imagination and elicit reflection. The architecture of their presentation does not rely on spectacular scenographic effects but rather builds on the strengths of classical museum aesthetics. The permanent exhibition was the product of a project team headed by the curator Bodo Michael Baumunk. It was designed and built by the architect's office of Gerhards & Glücker (Berlin).