Chemnitz offers a rich and multi-faceted museum landscape.
Take the Chemnitz Art Collections, for instance, which were named German Museum of the Year 2010, or the Gunzenhauser Museum, which houses one of the most impressive collections of classical modernism. Meanwhile, the Saxon Museum of Industry depicts history and the present day.
An overview of Chemnitz Museums is presented in the following section:
Chemnitz Art Collections
The Chemnitz Art Collections (Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz) are located in the King Albert Museum on Theaterplatz, which was designed by Richard Möbius and opened in 1909.
It houses over 60,000 exhibits. The museum holds the second-largest collection of the works by Schmidt-Rottluff, co-founder of the expressionist Die Brücke group of artists; today he is considered one of the most important representatives of this era.
One of the most important German art collections has found a home in Chemnitz: the unique collection of Munich gallery owner Dr Alfred Gunzenhauser (1926–2015) consists of more than 2400 works by a total of 270 artists.
They include one of the largest Otto Dix holdings in the world, with 380 works, and Europe’s second-largest Jawlensky collection.
Further key exhibits in the museum’s collection are works by Felixmüller, Münter, Modersohn-Becker, Kolle, Kirchner, Beckmann, Schrimpf, Wunderwald, Baumeister and Winter, amongst other artists.
Chemnitz History Museum
The Schloßbergmuseum belongs to the Chemnitz Art Collections and is the Chemnitz museum for city history.
Historical exhibitions are presented in reconstructed rooms from the Medieval and Renaissance periods on Castle Hill.
smac: Chemnitz State Museum of Archaeology
The famous semi-circular department store building in Chemnitz’s Brückenstraße, a work by the important architect Erich Mendelsohn, designed in 1927 and opened three years later, is the State Museum of Archaeology in Chemnitz – smac for short.
smac is the only museum in Saxony where you can experience 300,000 years of human history.
At the same time, it is the showcase of the Saxon State Office for Archaeology, with its Saxon Archaeological Archive.
Over 6000 exhibits over three floors shed light on the history of humanity from the beginnings of the Stone Age through to the early Industrial Era.
Henry van de Velde Museum in the Villa Esche
The villa designed by Belgian artist Henry van de Velde for the entrepreneur Herbert Eugen Esche is an architectural monument of European significance.
The Henry van de Velde Museum displays exhibits from the extensive holdings of the Chemnitz Art Collections: on the ground floor, the former dining room and music room give an impression of the original atmosphere with their largely authentic furnishings.
On the upper floor of the villa, there is a permanent exhibition in the former bedrooms, and in the bathroom, insights into the versatile artist’s entire oeuvre.
Natural History Museum
Chemnitz Natural History Museum (Museum für Naturkunde) is one of the largest natural history museums in Saxony and an established element of the museum and cultural landscape of our city.
Its role includes collecting and preserving natural objects, research in the field of the natural sciences and the presentation of its collections (palaeontology, geology and mineralogy, zoology, botany).
A highlight is the Petrified Forest in the atrium of the building, the TIETZ.
Saxon Museum of Industry Chemnitz
The Chemnitz Museum of Industry (Sächsisches Industriemuseum Chemnitz) – experience industry in transformation: the listed factory buildings on Zwickauer Straße have been an industrial production site since as long ago as the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Where cast parts for machinery in Germany and abroad were once manufactured in the modern foundry of Hermann and Alfred Escher AG, artefacts in the Chemnitz Museum of Industry now bear witness to the spirit of invention and entrepreneurship of Saxon firms from the beginning of industrialisation through to the present.
The museum also stages several special exhibitions every year. The Chemnitz Museum of Industry belongs to the Saxon Association of Industry Museums, along with three further museums and technology monuments.
New Saxon Gallery
The art collection of the New Saxon Gallery (Neue Sächsische Galerie) holds over 12,000 works of post-1945 art from Saxony.
It encompasses both the fine and applied arts: paintings, graphic works, sculpture, objects, photographs, posters, ceramics, porcelain, glass...
The museum also owns outstanding works of industrial design, such as radios, cameras and furniture, in particular an extensive collection of chairs produced in Saxony.
German Games Museum Chemnitz
The German Games Museum (Deutsches SPIELEmuseum Chemnitz) offers a permanent historical exhibition, changing special exhibitions on interesting topics and a playroom with the latest board, card, party and electronic games to try.
Saxon Motoring Museum in the Stern Car Park
The Stern Garagen (Museum für sächsische Fahrzeuge e. V. Chemnitz), one of the oldest surviving German multi-storey car parks, provides a fitting historic setting for around 200 exhibits by more than 40 manufacturers.
Visitors can view over 150 cars, motorbikes and bicycles displayed in an exhibition space covering 1000 square metres.
Many unique examples of Saxon automotive engineering history from the late 19th century to the present day are on display in chronological thematic boxes.
Racing cars and off-road sports vehicles are also waiting to be discovered, as well as a scene from a contemporary workshop and the Wanderer and DKW brands.
Saxon Railway Museum Chemnitz-Hilbersdorf
The golden age of the railways... In Chemnitz, railway travel grew so much around the turn of the century that passenger and goods transport had to be separated.
One of the largest marshalling yards in Germany was built between 1897 and 1900 in Hilbersdorf in Chemnitz.
Today, part of it – the goods train locomotive depot – houses the Saxon Railway Museum (Sächsisches Eisenbahnmuseum e.V. Chemnitz-Hilbersdorf).
The rolling stock is well worth seeing and encompasses steam, diesel and electric locomotives from different series as well as historic passenger carriages and goods wagons.
The museum also boasts a large narrow-gauge railway (600 millimetre) with a variety of locomotives and numerous carriages, as well as several model railways.
Rope-and-Pulley Shunting Technology Museum
The Rope-and-Pulley Shunting Technology Museum (Technikmuseum Seilablaufanlage) is a unique engineering monument.
Signal box 3 is the heart of the museum and the control centre for the operation of the rope-and-pulley shunting system.
It has been preserved and renovated, and is the core of the museum. Using the original technical equipment, guides show visitors how goods trains were split up.
This can be observed from the platform edge or comfortably from the viewpoint of a foreman in the gantry signal box.
The permanent exhibition presents the history of the Chemnitz Hilbersdorf marshalling yard and the Chemnitz railway region in evocative surroundings.
Chemnitz Tramway Museum
The museum is located in the oldest Chemnitz tramway depot.
The exhibition is housed in a two-span motorcar hall dating from 1908. In addition to the historical vehicles, visitors can also gain fascinating insights into the history and technology of the Chemnitz tramway.
They can find out why the Chemnitz narrow-gauge tramways operated on the unusual gauge of 925 millimetres, why an Englishman opened the city’s first horse-drawn tramway, and how a tramway “works” and lots more besides.
The Tramway Museum (Straßenbahnmuseum Chemnitz) is a living museum. How do you use a controller and how does a ticket box work?
Visitors can find out here and can try for themselves as well.
Ebersdorf School Museum
In the permanent exhibition and changing special exhibitions, visitors can gain a realistic impression of teaching one hundred years ago.
In a historical classroom, they can experience the lessons of the past, practise their old German handwriting on slates and be amazed by music lessons using a harmonium rather than a CD player.
In an idyllic location on the outskirts of the City of Chemnitz, Klaffenbach Castle (Wasserschloß Klaffenbach) unites several institutions under one roof.
Culture, art, sports and hospitality all find a place within its historic walls, providing a variety of options for tourists, sightseers, cultural enthusiasts and sportspeople.
Changing exhibitions in the castle, attractive offerings in the surrounding creative workshops, open-air events in the castle courtyard as well as a range of gastronomic venues together make the castle complex a popular day trip destination.
Events linked to the smallest surviving castle complex in Saxony can be traced back to 1170.
Knights were followed by monks from the Chemnitz Bergkloster, and then in modern times by members of the Saxon royal court, as can still be seen today in the 17th-century frescoes in the great hall.
Changing exhibitions depict the history of the castle and the lives of its inhabitants.
The Red Tower (Roter Turm) is the oldest emblem of the city.It was erected towards the end of the 12th century.
It first served as a residence and a private fortress; later it became an element of the city’s fortifications.
Bronze plaques set in pavements surrounding the Red Tower commemorate famous sons and daughters of the city – “Great Chemnitzers” such as Georgius Agricola, Marianne Brandt, Richard Hartmann, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Stefan Heym.
They are supplemented by an exhibition in the Red Tower. This can be visited on public tours.
Rabenstein Felsendome Caves Show Mine
Photo: Wolfgang Schmidt
The Felsendome caves are part of the lime works, which ceased operation in 1908.
At the second level of the underground operation, you have to bend down to pass through the “Gnomes’ Passage” in order to reach the so-called cathedral room.
The magic of the dripstone world bears witness to the lime quarrying which had taken place here since the 14th century and is enchanting in every season.
Medical-Historical Collection of Chemnitz Clinic
In the Medical-Historical Collection (Medizinhistorische Sammlung der Klinikum Chemnitz gGmbH), artefacts from the history of Chemnitz Clinic and its 20th-century predecessors are on display.
The development of selected medical procedures is documented using devices, images and text materials. Devices, instruments, books and images relating to medical history have been systematically collected over a period of 20 years.