Viewing German History: Visitors’ Guide to the Germanic Museum (1853)


This guide to the Germanic Museum in Nuremberg, issued the year of the museum’s opening (a year after its official founding), presents the collections to the interested public. The cover shows Nuremberg’s Weißer Turm, whose medieval architecture and centuries of wear and tear endowed the new institution with appropriate historical weight. The two featured illustrations show well-dressed, bourgeois visitors viewing a mix of objects, artworks and architectural elements that had been selected as embodiments of German history and culture.


Source: August Johann Ludolf von Eye, Das Germanische Museum: Wegweiser durch dasselbe für die Besuchenden. Leipzig, 1853, cover, small chamber (between pages 10 and 11), and larger chamber (between pages 16 and 17). Available online at:

Bavarian State Library

G. Ulrich Großmann, Architektur und Museum – Bauwerk und Sammlung. Das Germanische Nationalmuseum und seine Architektur. Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje, 1997.

H. Glenn Penny, Objects of Culture: Ethnology and Ethnographic Museums in Imperial Germany. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

Bénédicte Savoy, ed., Tempel der Kunst. Die Geburt des öffentlichen Museums in Deutschland 1701–1815. Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 2006.

James J. Sheehan, Museums in the German Art World from the End of the Old Regime to the Rise of Modernism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.


Viewing German History: Visitors’ Guide to the Germanic Museum (1853), published in: German History Intersections, <> [December 01, 2023].