>     Paleontology

palaeo3Our paleontological collection houses nearly 16,000 objects from all ages of our Earth, domestic and foreign. The historical part of the collection from the 19th century — if not collected by the respective curators themselves — was acquired first and foremost by the company Dr. Krantz / Bonn. From the first half of the 20th century onwards, priority was mainly given to collecting specimens from the Franconian Jurassic plattenkalk. The ammonite collection of Theodor Schneid, with some 1000 individual objects, including extensive types specimens detailed in Schneid's own publications, is worth special mention here. Further, the collection of A. Miiller with 700 plant fossils from the lowest Lias (sequence of early Jurrasic rock strata) of Großbellhofen near Schnaittach / Mittelfranken is of particular scientific interest. Extensive collections from all strata of the Franconian Jurassic were formed by Thomas Bechmann, the museum's geoscientific fossil preservationistpalaeo1. palaeo2

Since 2004, the collection has been considerably enriched by the findings of the museum's excavations of the Late Jurrasic period plattenkalk in the Upper Franconian village of Wattendorf. Our paleontological collection houses nearly 16,000 objects from all ages of our Earth, domestic and foreign. The historical part of the collection from the 19th century — if not collected by the respective curators themselves — was acquired first and foremost by the company Dr. Krantz / Bonn. From the first half of the 20th century onwards, priority was mainly given to collecting specimens from the Franconian Jurassic plattenkalk. The ammonite collection of Theodor Schneid, with some 1000 individual objects, including extensive types specimens detailed in Schneid's own publications, is worth special mention here. Further, the collection of A. Miiller with 700 plant fossils from the lowest Lias (sequence of early Jurrasic rock strata) of Großbellhofen near Schnaittach / Mittelfranken is of particular scientific interest. Extensive collections from all strata of the Franconian Jurassic were formed by Thomas Bechmann, the museum's geoscientific fossil preservationist

>     The Mineral Collection

MineralogieThe number of specimens stored in the mineralogical collection totals around 12,000. The oldest pieces date back to the first half of the 19th century. The museum's curator in the middle of the 19th century, Andreas Haupt, expanded the collection by a series of purchases and exchanges (with, for example, Krantz / Bonn) or through donations (for example those from Schönlein/Zürich of Berlin). In 1858 he purchased, with private funds, a portion of the ducal chancellor Hardt's own collection. Haupt endowed this extensive collection to the cabinet of natural curiosities under the name "Dr. Haupt's Collection." Notably, among these pieces is evidence of the occurrence of the East Bavarian-Bohemian bedrock, including layers from particular sites that have long since been inaccessible (for example, Kupferberg).

A special deposit collection with specimens from decommissioned mines and recovery sites in Upper Franconia, the north end of the Upper Palatinate (ger: Oberpfalz), and the Spessart and Odenwald regions was able to be acquired in 1990. It contains around 2000 individual objects from 55 locations

>     The Bird Collections

Vogelsammlung04The Bamberg bird (ornithology) collections featured in our famous Hall of Birds now contain approximately 1,500 taxidermy mounts, with a range of some 800 different species. Additionally, there are a smaller number of skins (75), skeletons and skeletal parts (35), eggs (552) and nests (115). The scientific value of the collection is based not only on the relatively high diversity and the specimens of rare species, but also on the excellent documentation records. As a rule, both the original informational tags and additional archival materials are available for each individual specimen, such as purchase invoices, freight letters and relevant correspondences.vogel2

  By far the majority of the specimens are of exotic origin, with a focus on Brazil, Northeast Africa and Australia. They were collected primarily from 1803 to 1885. Many of the Brazilian species were purchased from the Munich collection (1857-1864). It is likely that these are duplicates, which were collected during the expeditions of Johann Baptist von Spix (1721-1826), Friedrich Philipp von Martius (1794-1868), and that of Johann Baptist Natterer (1787-1843). The Northeast African specimens arrived between 1857 and 1861 as gifts to the museum from the missionary Matthäus Kirchner (1826-1912). vogel3The Australian material was acquired mainly between 1870 and 1883 by the renowned Godeffroy Museum in Hamburg. The main bulk of this acquisition was endowed by the famous collector Amalie Dietrich (1821-1891). In the first half of the nineteenth century the collection grew substantially thanks to gifts from the physician Johann Lukas Schönlein (1793-1864). Further sources of reference were: Johann Heinrich Sturm (1805-1862) / Nuremberg, museums in Stuttgart, Leiden and Augsburg, Schlüter / Halle, Linnaea / Berlin, Emil Weiske (1867-1950) / Saalfeld, Heyne / Leipzig.

The Central European collection, consisting especially of regional birds, is much younger. Noteworthy are a few local, first-ever recorded specimens as well as rare migratory birds.

>     The Insect Collection

insektenThere are almost 120,000 specimens representing all insect groups. The most important collection came from Theodor Schneid (1879-1958), the director of the museum between 1917 and 1945. He collected data and evidence from about 1930-1950 focusing on a 30-km radius around Bamberg and primarily concentrating his efforts on open areas with climatically warmer conditions. As he painstakingly collected, charted, and recorded (also making notes as to the quantity) at numerous locations, his focused became the Hymenoptera insects. The Schneid Collection is considered one of the most important local collections of entomology in Bavaria.

>     The Pomological Collection

pomologie1The pomological collection or so-called "pomological cabinet" is a collection of models of different fruit varieties. Such collections were produced from the 18th to the 20th century to "comprehensibly" document the knowledge of particular varieties. Models of fruits were produced by different suppliers mainly within European countries, but also in the New World using a wide variety of techniques and materials (for example: "Arnoldi's fruit cabinet" comprised of 432 plaster models, made between 1856-1897 in Gotha; the "Waxed fruit collection" from the monk Constantin Keller, with 245 preserved specimens from the Admont abbey in Austria, compiled between 1815-1840; and "Plastic reproductions of fruit assortments for Styria" with 406 papier-mâché wax models, probably created between 1880-1890.)

The pomological cabinet inside Bamberg’s Museum of Natural History originates from the production of the "Landes-Industrie-Comptoir" from the Weimar publisher Friedrich Justin Bertuch (1747-1822). Appearing between 1794 and 1804, the publication "Der teutsche Obstgärtner" (eng. the teutsche fruit gardener) was replaced by the "Allgemeine teutschen Gartenmagazin" (eng: general teutsche garden magazine) from 1804 to 1824. In this series, recommendable varieties of fruits are described in text and image. The man responsible for the content was the Thuringian pomologist pastor Johann Volkmar Sickler (1742-1820), who was at the time a well-known figure. Additionally, the publishing house produced models of a total of 298 different fruit varieties, comprising of apples, pears, plums and plums, cherries, apricots, peaches as well as a nut and a common medlar. The models were constructed by a one Ernst Heinrich Gebhardt. They were sold in 26 successive deliveries between 1795 and 1813.pomologie2

The models are made of beeswax with a small addition of the so-called Kremserweiß, or lead-based whitewash. The objects are hollow, with a wall thickness of approx. 1.5 - 2.5 mm. The fruit stalks are made of twisted and secured yarn and had been shaped with wax according to the type-specific requirements. The surface is painted with glossy, natural-colored paint.

Without a doubt, the model fruit series from the Bertuch collection is the most beautiful and true-to-nature among the fruit variety series that could've been acquired in the heyday of pomology. Of course due to the extreme fragility of the hollow bodies, only a few collections have survived to this day. The collection here in Bamberg — with a total of 193 models — is one of the most comprehensive. In detail: 71 pears, 66 apples, 24 plums and plums, 23 cherries, 6 peaches and 3 apricots. In addition to their cultural-historical value, the models are used to determine old, forgotten varieties. They also provide an overview of the most important and widely-used fruit varieties of that period.