The existing collections inside Bamberg’s Museum of Natural History date back to the late 18th century. In the course of establishing the cabinet of natural curiosities, Prince Bishop Franz Ludwig von Erthal in 1791, the latter ordered the purchase of various collections. This mainly included the acquisition of mineral deposits and ores from the Franconian Forest and Fichtel Mountains as well as collections of various preserved animal specimens. Very few of these early acquisitions remain, for many objects were lost in the tumult of the revolutionary wars.
The first large collection gains came following the secularization of Germany in 1803, when the former Benedictine priest Dionysius Linder (1762-1838) transferred pieces of the Banz monastery’s own collection to Bamberg's then incomplete gallery of natural specimens. This collection was primarily comprised of numerous preserved animal specimens, part of the current "Pomological Cabinet," and an undetermined number of the already-famous Beringer's Lying Stones (Würzburger Lügensteine). During his active years until his death in 1838, Linder evolved into a kind of co-founder of the Bamberg cabinet of natural curiosities, expanding the collection by great volumes. His successor as director, the clergyman Dr. Andreas Haupt (1813-1893), upgraded the collections by several thousand objects from all branches of natural science.
Haupt’s successor, the clergyman Dr. Georg Fischer, who directed the museum from 1885 to 1912, was met with the enormous task of inventorising and cataloging the stock. Fischer filled 11 inventory folios and 44 catalogs with data on the museum pieces.
While the efforts to expand the collection were still guided by the idea of mapping global biodiversity, this changed with the work of clergyman Dr. Theodor Schneid (museum director from 1917 – 1945). From then on, documenting the regional specimens was the focus of the collection. Dr. Schneid collected and researched the ammonite fauna found in the region's Jurassic-era strata, taxidermy native bird species worthy of exhibition, and established a systematic collection of native insects. Above all, it was this latter collection of scientifically-precious native insects which remains one of the Bavarian region's most important contributions to entomology.
Numerous other exhibits were acquired during Prof. Dr. Anton Kolb's tenure at the museum. These exhibits were mainly used for the expansion of zoological holdings with regard to global biodiversity. At the moment, our focus lies on documenting regional data and specimens. Since 2004, our efforts have been focused on securing the fossils found in the natural heritage site of the Wattendorf Plattenkalk and producing these for the collection.