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

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

Exhibition Archive 1841 to 2016

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... ... the University of Rostock, founded in 1419, is the oldest in Northern Europe?


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.

CHRISTIAN ROHLFS (1849–1938). Falls.

Birches at the Garden Fence, 1902
The Three Holy Kings, ca 1924

Art Exhibition 9th of June to the 24th of September 2017

Exhibition series
Rostock’s Classical Modernism: “Degenerate Art” from the estate of art dealer Bernhard A. Böhmer.


Colourful paintings and graphics by the multi-facetted artist Christian Rohlfs open an exceptional exhibition series of top-class masterpieces by Lyonel Feininger, Oskar Schlemmer, Rudolf Belling, Max Pechstein, Erich Heckel, Ernst Barlach and other German artists. The individual exhibitions are devoted not only to the fates of both the individual artists and groups of artists involved but also the dubious journey of how they brought “degenerate art” to Rostock.Around 1900, avant-garde artists all across Europe broke with traditional art traditions and created “Classical Modernism” – Christian Rohlfs was one such “peculiar" individualist.

His way of seeing art in nature is peculiar; his way of "pulling it out", always independent. Pictures of the most varied epochs of his creation find their unifying band in natural feeling.
Art patron Karl Ernst Osthaus on Christian Rohlfs, 1905.

It was when Christian Rohlfs, the nature-boy from Schleswig-Holstein, fell from an apple tree that his fairytale-like ascent to becoming a member of the Prussian Academy of Arts truly began. With a traditional repertoire of shapes and colours, he initially earned his laurels – though he did not rest on them: countless and endless experiments shaped his stylistic development via Impressionism to Expressionism. The time was out of joint, and he thus compacted his inner being into forms of symbolism, and it was only in his late work that the untamed naturalness of his work truly burst out: Rohlfs' particular lyrical expressionism bewitched its public with colour-intensive depictions of flowers.


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”.


Important natural history collections developed over a period of 150 years

May 20, 2016 – July 24, 2017

“Von Maltzan’s Natural History Museum in Mecklenburg” was founded in Waren (Müritz) in 1866. Important natural history collections developed over 150 years. On the occasion of this particular anniversary a special exhibition is hosted by the Rostock Cultural History Museum. Starting with the origins of scientific collections and research in Mecklenburg and Vorpommern it is shown which developments led to the foundation of the “Natural History Museum in Mecklenburg” during the first half of the 19th century. By informative words, interesting photographs, and numerous exemplars of collections the history of the collections is told and their unique value for scientific research is illustrated. Additionally the exhibition focuses on the How, What, and Why of scientific collection activity.


March 11 - June 5, 2016

St. Jacob before 1896

With its four parish churches Rostock holds an impressive number of churches, which was not met by other cities along the Baltic shores. St. Peter, St. Nicolas, St. Mary and St. Jacob (St. Petri, St. Nicolai, St. Marien, and St. Jacobi) not only shaped the city silhouette with their high towers and massive naves, but were also centres for Rostock and its citizens. They were places of prayer, sermon and worship, meeting places for the communities, served as burial places to commemorate the dead and were venues for representation. Lord’s Castles, erected by the bourgeois, along with the city hall were the centre of the city. The exhibition describes the role of these churches for the medieval and early modern age city.

Today, one of the churches, St. Jacob, is lost due to war damage and subsequent demolition. The empty space in the midst of the city, commemorating the church these days, was the focus of a project of students of the University of Wismar. The results of the project “St. Jacob church square” constitute the second part of the exhibition.



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".