In the beginning there was Napoleon and a dead duke

The Museum was born in 1890 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the victory over Napoleon. In the final battles against this power-hungry Corsican, the reigning Duke Friedrich Wilhelm of Brunswick-Oels was killed.

Friedrich Wilhelm, who came to fame under the sobriquet of “Black Duke”, has been revered as a liberation hero since his death on the battlefield in the Duchy of Brunswick. In 1890, Brunswick’s citizens collected more than 1,000 memorabilia for an exhibition at St Aegidien church on the occasion of 75th anniversary of his death. In light of the great public interest, it was decided to keep the exhibits, and just one year later, on 11 October 1891, the “Vaterländisches Museum” was born.

After several relocations – among them the Paulinerchor in Bohlweg and the former monastery of St Aegidien – the Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum, its official name since 1938, was moved to the Vieweghaus in Burgplatz.

By then, the history of the Brunswick region was also centered on at three other venues – cultural anthropology in a farmhouse in Bortfeld (Peine region), archaeology in the former ducal chancellery in Wolfenbüttel, and Jewish history in the former monastery of St Aegidien.

The year 2020 will see the next stage in the history of the Museum – the Vieweghaus in Burgplatz, the Museum’s main location, is ageing and thorough restoration works are required. The State of Lower Saxony is investing roughly 47.5 million euros in the future of the Museum. During these works, exhibitions will be continued at various different locations in the city.