The Museum’s Judaica collection comprises more than 1,000 objects and is among the historically most important collections of this kind in Germany.
Soon after the foundation of the Vaterländisches Museum (National Museum) in 1891 until the end of World War II, the Judaica formed part of the Museum’s permanent collection. It was only in 1987 that it was possible to set up a new exhibition on the history of Jewish religion and culture at Hinter Aegidien. At the center of this exhibition is the almost completely preserved Baroque interior of the synagogue at Hornburg, a rural community, which has been part of the Judaica collection since 1922 and is unique in northern Germany.
The Museum’s venue Hinter Aegidien is an unusual complex of buildings. It consists of the still extant rooms of the former Benedictine monastery of St. Aegidien and the gothic choir of the church of the former monastery of the Order of St. Paul the Hermit which relocated from Bohlweg to Hinter Aegidien in 1902.
In addition, the building of the former Protestant Association (c. 1900) at the south side of the monastery is part of the museum complex.
The Benedictine monastery of St. Aegidien was founded in 1115 by the Brunswick Duchess Gertrud. The rooms that are still extant include the church, two wings of the Romanesque cloisters and three adjacent rooms. Since its dissolution during the Reformation, it has seen various different usages – as a Protestant ladies’ foundation, military depot, prison and cultural venue, and, finally, museum. The exhibition “… und es ward Licht” (and there was light), established in 2012 in the former monastery rooms informs visitors about life in the monastery and the foundation’s history.