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Collecting and Preserving

Stuttgart State Natural History Museum

Stuttgart State Natural History Museum may not be as old as its exhibits, though the oldest of these were actually acquired back in the 16th century. The museum's collections have their origins in the former Chamber of Curiosities of the dukes of Württemberg. In 1791 the natural history collections – today's State Museum of Natural History – became an institution in their own right.

With over 11 million items in its collections, the museum is one of Germany's foremost natural history museums. The exhibits are on show at two separate locations, both in Rosenstein Park: 
The Museum am Löwentor houses the palaeontology section. Here, visitors can take a journey back through the history of the Earth, from the Palaeozoic age to the Quaternary period, brought to life by means of original fossils and lifelike replicas. Also on display is the 300,000-year-old Steinheim Skull, one of the oldest human fossils in Central Europe. In the Bernstein-Kabinett (Amber Chamber) one enters the minuscule yet instructive world of amber and its inclusions: insects and plants trapped in the resin. The permanent exhibition is augmented by the Ice Age section. Five authentically reproduced and scientifically grounded scenes illustrate the habitats of that era: an Ice Age steppe landscape with a mother mammoth, a subadult and a baby mammoth, or a scene with primordial inhabitants set some 400,000 years ago on the banks of the Neckar in Cannstatt. As well as hairy elephants, there are also cave bears, reindeer hunters, primeval humans and countless original fossils to discover – close up and large as life.

Rosenstein Palace is home to the biology exhibition. This is divided into five sections, each with a different concept, and gives an overview of today's fauna and the Earth's main ecosystems. Ending on 14th June 2020, the temporary exhibition "RIESIG im Meer" ("Giants of the Ocean") spotlights the dimensions, adaptability and accomplishments of countless giants of the seas, from giant squid and oarfish in the ocean depths to sparkling, multicoloured coral reefs, large marine communities and the huge inhabitants of the open sea, such as whale sharks or sei and sperm whales. Impressive highlights include replicas of these giants of the seas and – on show for the first time – the complete skeleton of a sperm whale.

All in all, the State Natural History Museum's collections comprise:
•    4.1 million fossils
•    40,000 minerals
•    1 million plants
•    4.5 million insects
•    1 million molluscs
•    500,000 vertebrates
•    9,600 types

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