200 Years Natural History Society and Museum of Natural History Görlitz
“We are a people made for exploring the universe” – 200 years of the Natural History Society and Museum of Natural History Görlitz
In 1811, the commitment of some citizens of Görlitz laid the foundation for today’s Senckenberg Museum of Natural History and the Natural History Society of Upper Lusatia. A new special exhibition in the museum is dedicated to the common history of the two institutions. Original historical exhibits and valuable collection items tell their eventful history and document the achievements and activities of the past 200 years.
Very early on, citizens interested in nature joined forces in Görlitz to conduct joint nature research. Initially founded as an ornithological association, the field of activity quickly expanded and a broader natural history was desired, in the spirit of the age of scientific discoveries. Therefore, the ornithological association changed its name to Naturforschende Gesellschaft zu Görlitz already in 1823. Its honorary members, among them many well-known Görlitzers and also Alexander von Humboldt, achieved amazing things. Thus, since 1827, the publication of its own journal, which continues under a different name to this day and is distributed worldwide. In an enormous effort, the society even succeeded in building its own museum in 1860, which still bears witness to the civic pride of Görlitz today on Marienplatz.
Adverse circumstances such as wars and changing political systems and the associated dissolution of the society, defied the honorary naturalists. The society was re-established under Prof. Dr. Wolfram Dunger in 1990 as the Nature Research Society of Upper Lusatia and today again comprises 200 members. The museum itself has always continued to exist, albeit with changing sponsorships, such as those of the city of Görlitz, the State Secretariat for Higher Education, the Saxon State Ministry for Science and Art, and finally, since 2009, the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung.