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© Joachim Hiltmann

Helms Museum

Hamburg Museum for Archaeology and History

The Helms Museum is the Hamburg Museum for archaeology and the history of Harburg. The Museum in the south of Hamburg offers an exciting overview of more than 200,000 years of the history of the region. Interactive exhibits and special exhibitions attract laypersons and experts alike.

In the 100-year history of the Historical Museum of the City of Harburg to the State Archaeological Museum of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, the Helms Museum has become one of the most important archaeological museums in northern Germany. 

The Helms Museum has one of the largest collections of prehistory and early history in the region: over 1.5 million objects have been collected and inventoried since 2004 in the new archaeological archive.

In field tours and special exhibitions the museum also deals with topics such as the history of Harburg, Hamburg's southern district where the Helms Museum is located. The central topic, however, is the Stone Age and how early people used the opportunities of their environment.

For this purpose, the latest findings in archaeology are made accessible to a wide audience, and as a result of cooperation with a company that creates experience landscapes, these are transformed into a walk-in "Stone Age" world. The visitor thus first passes through a glacial zone and then enters the boulder-landscape left behind by the mass of ice. Accessible showcases invite you to become an archaeologist, and a specially created artificial cave offers the opportunity to create your own cave paintings, of course with the resources available at that time.

Instead of presenting the finds conventionally in display cases by chronological order, the Helms Museum Hamburg arranges its exhibits in subject areas, such as nutrition, death, mobility, violence, innovations and basic materials. The relationship to our time is thus established in a very creative manner; remnants of food, for example, are found in contemporary refrigerators. In addition to its focus on six subject areas, the upper floor of the Helms Museum houses a 200 square metre transport network map of Hamburg. Located at the stops are cases with finds from the respective parts of the city.

With special exhibitions and interactive exhibits such as "Making fire Stone-Age style", the museum consistently provides new insights into the fascinating world of archaeology. The education department shows young and old how to make arrowheads from flint, to bake bread without an electric cooker or to produce jewellery from various Stone Age materials. Also part of this department's programme are guided excursions through the regular museum exhibits along with archaeological hikes in the Fischbeker Heide.

The museum has viewing areas in three exhibition buildings:

  • In the main building at Museumsplatz 2, alternating special exhibitions on all archaeological topics of the old and the new world are presented throughout the year.
  • At Harburger Rathausplatz 5 is the permanent archaeological exhibition of the museum.
  • Also, in the Alte Feuerwache at Hastedtstrasse 30-32 is depicted the multifaceted history of the Harburg district of Hamburg. The programme of the museum is also enhanced by thematically changing special exhibitions.
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