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Arts & Museums
No sooner do you step onto the forecourt of the Military History Museum - filled with planes, tanks and military vehicles - and you are transported into the world of the German military. Exhibits such as uniforms, medals, guns and ammunition show how the military has developed over the ages. The museum contains over 6000 exhibits, among them the world's oldest diving boat and Europe's oldest canon.
With some 600 books to his name, Polish author Jozéf Ignacy Kraszewski was one of the world's most productive writers. His former home in Dresden (from 1873-79) has now been turned into a museum which offers an insight into his life and times. Kraszewski's work takes pride of place, but visitors can also admire a host of mementoes and period furniture. A special exhibition deals with the history of Saxon-Polish relations.
The Raskolnikow Arthouse attracts artists from abroad and offers a very varied programme. Dresden's art scene gets together here for the opening of new galleries, first showings, lectures, films about art, concerts or simply for exhibitions. Experimenting with art is always encouraged and appreciated and it's a good place to gauge the current zeitgeist - the art is far from mainstream, modern and innovative. Every now and again concerts are organised by the Arts Centre in its fantastic gardens and these are a must. The arts centre and gallery are on the first floor.
A first of its kind, Erich Kästner Museum is an interactive micro museum. It houses the work of the famous author, journalist and cabaret artist Erich Kästner. This was his home from 1899 to 1917. The micro museum is a fine example of optimal use of space. There are columns which can be pushed together to create more space. Each column has drawers which contain the exhibits. Designed by architect Ruairi O'Brien, this museum is child-friendly, so you can take your kids along. A visit to the museum is the perfect way to get an interesting overview of Erich Kästner's life.
In the land of culture and art, there was a museum once built in the Romantic Period (18th Century). The famous Gerhard von Kugelgen was the heart of the Romantic Movement in Dresden. Having moved to Dresden along with his family in the early 1800s, his house soon became a meeting place for all and sundry. Now, that same place has been converted into a museum and is open to the public. What you get to see inside are several furniture pieces and pictures belonging to the family, which gives a deeper insight into the life and times of this artist. What is interesting is that the exhibits are spread over nine rooms in the house!
One of the most significant contemporary galleries in Dresden, Galerie Sybille Nütt is located in Innere Neustadt. A gallery that is essentially Dresdener, this art space showcases artworks of those artists who live or have once lived in the state capital of Saxony. Exhibitions here are temporary - changing four or five times a year - and they typically highlight the current socio-cultural scene. Many artists featured, like Klaus Gigga, Matthais Bolz and Franziska Klotz, to name a few, have been students of the Dresden Art Academy. As such, the Sybille Nütt gallery witnesses collections of several nationally acclaimed photographers, painters, graphic artists and sculptors throughout the year.
A must for first-time visitors, this former home of the Kügelgen family has now been converted into a museum (part of the Stadtmuseum) and depicts their life story. A wonderful restaurant is attached, so visitors can explore the museum and round their visit off with a fine meal either out in the garden, in the courtyard or in the house itself. The food and the decor are rustic and traditional.
Dating back to 1560, this museum's ethnological collection is the third oldest of its kind in the country and boasts more that 80,000 rare pieces. Situated in the Japanese Palais, only few hundred meters from the monument "golden rider", the Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden gives visitors an impressive insight into the arts and crafts of numerous different ethnic groups. Temporary exhibitions, each with a specific theme, incorporate exhibits from Africa, the Polar regions, the Orient, South America, South East Asia and the South Seas.
Besides housing the Museum of Ethnology, the Japanische Palais is also home to the fascinating Museum of Prehistory. The museum elucidates the early history of Saxony in a series of constantly changing exhibitions which feature some of the region's most important archaeological finds, including ancient tools, urns and clay fragments. A visit to the Museum of Prehistory is like taking a voyage back in time, back to the epoch of cave-dwellers and hunters.
Built in the early 1700s, the Japanese Palace was originally meant to accommodate Augustus the Strong's porcelain collection. Today, it serves as the home of the Museum of Ethnology and the State Prehistory Museum. A guided tour of this palace will acquaint you with its treasured collection and educate you about the various cultures of the world.
Housed within the Jägerhof, the 400 hundred year old, Innere Neustadt building, the Museum of Saxon Folk Art and Puppet Theatre, also called, Museum für Volkskunst, boasts of one of the biggest puppettheater and folk art collections in the world. The museum chronicles the development of folk art in Saxony. Some items displayed are over 200 years old, used in historic fairs and events, highlighting the glorious history of Germany. There are also more recent, 19th-century artifacts that testify technological advances in traditional puppettheater. With more than 27,000 objects on display, Museum für Sächsische Volkskunst mit Puppentheatersammlung makes for an extremely interesting and insightful visit.
This imposing classicist building is home to several of Dresden's finest museums: the Gemäldegalerie art gallery with its collection of romantic, realist, impressionist, expressionist and contemporary paintings; the Sculpture Collection with its marble and bronze carvings; and the Coin Collection with its spectrum of coins, medals and bank notes. The crown jewels (Grüne Gewölbe) are also on display in the Albertinum until the Residezschloss is reopened.