Eine junge Frau und ein junger Mann stehen unter den Lichtkegeln, die den dunklen Raum durchfluten, und schauen in Tänzerpose nach oben, in die Richtung des Lichts.


19 April 2019 to 19 April 2020

People and plants

An exhibition by the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum

Curator: Kathrin Meyer

Plants are vital to mankind’s survival; and yet, all too often, they are overlooked and neglected. We are now barely aware of just how genuinely dependent we are on them, especially in our urban everyday lives. Indeed, the way plants are cultivated and processed into food and medicine, or as materials, has become more or less invisible.

With exhibits from the visual arts, literature and cultural history as well as biology, agricultural and forestry sciences, the exhibition focuses on our fellow plant-based beings and examines differing views of the flora that surrounds us. As a result, plants are showcased as nurtured miracles of nature, as complex living beings, as economic factors, food, or cultural product.

The exhibition suggests that the way we deal with plants reveals our ambivalent relationship with nature. On the one hand, we wish to preserve it intact, wild and unspoilt; on the other, we exploit it unsparingly in order to satisfy our needs. So do we need a new concept of nature, given the profound impact we human beings are having on our ecosystems? Would our view of the environment be a different one if the history of human civilisation had been a narrative of complicity, nurturing and simultaneous exploitation of plants and vegetation?

Prison de Nantes // © Grégoire Korganow, 2012

September 2020 to May 2021

In Jail

An exhibition by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, the Musée des Confluences in Lyon, and the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum in Dresden

Genf: February 2019 to August 2019
Lyon: October 2019 to August 2020
Dresden: September 2020 to May 2021

Curators: Isabel Dzierson, Marianne Rigaud-Roy, Sandra Sunier
Design: Holzer Kobler Architekturen

Nick, cooler, clink … there are plenty of euphemisms around for the word ‘prison’. It’s a place most of us have only ever seen from the outside, evoking a mix of unease, but also fascination. It’s the place where they lock up those whose actions are unlawful and detrimental to society. Imprisonment is aimed at protecting the population from criminals, punishing said criminals and, in an ideal scenario, helping them to reintegrate society.

In a joint collaborative project with its two partner museums in Geneva and Lyon, the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum is looking at the complex social issue of prisons. Exhibition pieces from penal institutions, contemporary art, ethnographic exhibits and documentary material will open up all sorts of perspectives on life behind bars. The prisoners themselves have a say, along with prison staff and other experts in the field.

The exhibition examines the historical origins of the prison system and highlights the problems it currently faces. Indeed, European prisons are faced with the problem that they often fail to reintegrate prisoners into society, not to mention the multitude of social inequalities, for which there are still very few solutions. The main question that emerges against this backdrop is that of the precise purpose of imprisonment and what of perception society has of the prison system and its sentencing structure: it is revenge, justice, prevention, or even providence in the old fashioned sense of the term? Does a modern society still need institutions such as prisons? Or are there other, more effective means of dealing with crime and punishment?

April 25 to November 1, 2020

Industrial Heritage & Man: 4th Saxon State Exhibition

Curator: Thomas Spring

Central exhibition venue: AUDI-Building, Zwickau

The Saxon State Ministry for Science and Art has entrusted the Deutsches  Hygiene-Museum  with  the  organisation  of  the  state exhibition in Zwickau. With numerous projects that have gained nationwide recognition,  the  museum  in  Dresden  has  become  a competence centre for surprising and popular theme-based exhibitions, all of which focus on humans as social and cultural beings.

From April 25 to November 1 2020, the 4th Saxon State Exhibition in Zwickau will focus on the region of south-west Saxony as one of the cradles of European industrialisation. With its motto “Industry – culture – Man” it will turn the history of industrialisation in Saxony into an exciting experience and highlight its future

Alongside the central exhibition in the AUDI-Building Zwickau a further six other authentic venues in the region will provide fascinating insight into key branches in Saxon technology and industry history. With this decentralised structure, the 4th Saxon State Exhibition  is  presenting  almost  the  entire  spectrum  of  Saxony’s industrial heritage.


Chemnitz Museum of Industry (mechanical engineering)

Saxon Railway Museum Chemnitz-Hilbersdorf (railway)

Textile Factory Bros. Pfau Crimmitschau (textile)

Research and Teaching Mine / Silver Mine Freiberg (ore)

Mining Museum Oelsnitz/Erzgebirge (coal)

August Horch Museum Zwickau (vehicle manufacturing)