• Elisabeth Schmidt, In the Rostock Museum of art and antiquity, 1906

  • View to the Rostock Museum of art and antiquity, about 1910

Exhibition Archive since 1841

Starting in the present the  records (pdf) list more than 700 exhibitions  over the past 170 years by the Museum of Cultural History and its predecessors (City Museum, Museum of Art and Antiquity, Society for Rostock’s Antiquities, Rostock Art Society).

Did you know... ... that the Rostock herring and beer barrel was the only standard measure in the Hanseatic League of the Middle Ages?

Art Exhibition: “Graphics. A Question of Form”

Otto Dix, The match seller, 1920, etching (K 235 G)

2nd exhibition of the exhibition series: Rostock’s Classical Modernism: “Degenerate Art” from the Estate of Art Dealer Bernhard A. Böhmer.

Part 1: From Abbo to de Fiori

17th of May to 16th of June 2019

Location: the Hanseatic and University City Rostock Display Depot

In the world of classical modernity, and particularly for the artists of that time, the modern world was turning like a kaleidoscope: the vast and broken patterns of new artworks were being created at an ever-faster rate: faces both with and without names, ladies of the night and their admirers, gigolos and war cripples, circus acrobats and carnival barkers, the holy and the crooks, the bourgeois and the revolutionaries, lovers and the lonely hearts. For many, greater even than the yearning for a rural idyll was the longing for the promise of the big city.

With their graphics, avant-garde artists documented their surroundings by providing a representation of the flood of the overpowering impressions to which they were exposed in the 20th century. And in so doing, the artists and their experiments became the focus of attention. Loved by some but hated by others: the graphics gained a novel artistic meaning.

Over 580 graphics can be found in the estate of art dealer Bernhard A. Böhmer, and in this exhibition series, the artworks are presented to the public for the very first time. The 2nd exhibition casts light of the phenomena of graphics from classical modernism, with 257 artworks from 67 artists presented in four displays.

In 1958, the exhibition of “German graphics from the early XX century”, with many works of art from Böhmer’s estate was held – but then closed in a matter of days. It is a phenomenon: how a few strokes can convey such considerable meaning. Why? This is a question best answered by the exhibition – best experienced in images and sounds.

Curator: Susanne Knuth

The oldest gold in the world.

November 30, 2018 - April 28, 2019

Since time immemorial, people have been fascinated by the magic of brilliant gold. More than 6,500 years ago, there was an ancient culture on the west coast of the Black Sea. At that time, a nation of peasants in the area of Varna discovered the cultivation of copper and gold. At first it was copper, with which people covered the bodies of their deceased chiefs, tribal elders and priests. But soon they gave the dead gold for eternity. More than 3,000 gold objects and other burial objects from prehistoric Varna were discovered during an archeological dig in the 1970s. The golden grave goods from the middle of the 5th millennium BC are among the oldest known jewels in the world. The exhibition "The oldest gold in the world" shows a spectacular selection from the grave finds of gold, copper and clay and leads into the world of one of the oldest cultures in the world and the beginning of civilization. The finds have already been shown in Bulgaria, Japan, Canada, France, Italy, Israel and the Netherlands, among others. Now comes the exhibition of the Archaeological Museum Varna with one of the most spectacular gold discoveries in the world to Rostock.


Rostock, Mecklenburg and protestant Reformation around the Baltic Sea
Slüter’s reformation sermon in Rostock, Bernhard Reinhold, 1858

July 7, 2017 – November 5, 2017


On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the protestant reformation the Rostock Cultural History Museum presents an exhibition on its history. The exhibition not only broaches the issue of events related to the reformation in Rostock and Mecklenburg, but also the cultural and religious exchange processes connected to it. The ecclesiastic and religious life and the faith before reformation, the development leading to upheaval and transformation, and the development of the protestant regional church in Mecklenburg since the mid-16th century play their role. Hence an overall view emerges onto the versatile religious, cultural and social processes during the 16th and 17th century, which can be summarized under the notion of reformation and its consequences.

Not only was Rostock the intellectual centre of the reformation in Mecklenburg, but also became an extraordinary multiplier of reformatory ideas as early as the 1520s. This is owed to the first protestant preacher in Rostock, Joachim Slüter. Already in 1525 he released a protestant hymnbook and in 1526 a prayer booklet, both in Low German language, which are the oldest evidence of this type at all. Especially the hymnbook became a bestseller and was distributed far beyond the boundaries of Mecklenburg. Hymns from Rostock shaped the protestant community singing in Sweden and Denmark, and also in England and Latvia as in many territories of the Holy Roman Empire. Characters like David Chyträus and Johann Quistorp senior, or Johann Friedrich König, Heinrich Müller, or Theophil Großgebuer shaped Lutheranism beyond the boundaries of the empire and let emanate Rostock’s influence across the Baltic Sea towards Scandinavia.

Between Steintor and railway station in Rostock
Kaiser-Wilhelm-Straße (Emperor-Wilhelm-Street), before 1918

March 10, 2017 – June 11, 2017

In the middle of the 19th century cities expanded beyond their surrounding walls. As railway stations developed the city walls lost their function and gradually disappeared. Rostock as well expanded towards the West and South since 1850. Outside the “Steintor” residences arose in place of gardens and farmers houses. Farm tracks turned into avenues. Soon “Wallstraße” (Wall Street) was graced by first splendid mansions. After the Lloyd railway station was opened in 1886 a suburb developed featuring civic mansions and apartments along wide and generous tree lined avenues. Soon 6.970 citizens were housed in 784 buildings in the novel “Steintor-Vorstadt” (Stone Gate Suburb) around 1900. The area outside the “Steintor” became Rostock’s priciest neighbourhood.

For the first time an exhibition of the Rostock Cultural History Museum is dedicated to the southern suburb. You are invited for a stroll through the developing streets. Historical photographs and documents provide the backdrop for a journey into Wilhelminian time around 1900. The view onto the life of Rostock’s citizens inside the mansions and apartments is amended by stories and memories of citizens and visitors which bring the suburb to life.

Rostock‘s fine Society - The “Societät“ - 1794 - 1934

October 28, 2016 – February 26, 2017

Invitation to the 100th anniversary of the foundation festivities of the "Societät", 1894

87 of the wealthiest and most influential men in Rostock founded the Societät, a sociable middle class club, in 1794 which became one of the oldest and most decisive middle class associations in the city of Rostock. It was an association of educated men to further sociable amusements and literary entertainment. Soon this financially strong association built its own edifice where Billard and cards were played on a daily basis. Reading rooms were supplemented with an extensive library and food and drinks were consumed.

In the sociable atmosphere one could, quite casually, close business deals or exert an influence on city politics. Balls were hosted on a regular basis and, by way of exception, ladies were allowed to further middle class matchmaking.

The illustrious membership list of the “Societät” made the association a centre of power of Rostock’s “Fine Society”.


City photography of the 19th and 20st century – Window shopping

5 June - 13 September 2015

City scenery fotographs of the 19th and 20th century show Rostock shop keepers proudly posing in front of their enterprises or in economic distress. Customers strolling in between fashion studios and colonial merchandise shops or queuing up in times of shortage. Under the magnifying glass the photographies open a view into the more or less filled show cases of a busy hanseatic city, the goods of the market stalls and the slogans of their advertising boards.

These close ups of Rostock’s city scenery covering more than 100 years depict a lively economic and every day life image, rich in details, of the hanseatic city.

Under the title "Rostock busy" the Culture History Museum follows the demand of many visitors for a second part to the successful exhibition "IN THE STREETS".