Our aims and principles

Mission statement of the Staatliches Naturhistorisches Museum

The Staatliches Naturhistorisches Museum (SNHM) was opened to the public in 1754 as the “Herzoglich-Braunschweigisches Naturalienkabinett”. It is a child of the Enlightenment and feels bound to this tradition. Today the museum considers itself the center of natural history, throughout the Brunswick region.

Our principles are:
 1)    Humans originate from nature and are a part of it.
 2)    Humans are responsible for their surroundings.
 3)    Knowledge of nature is vital for treating it properly.

Our aims are accordingly:
 1)    to preserve the collections that have been entrusted to us for future generations
 2)    to improve our visitors' understanding of nature with the help of authentic exhibitions
 3)    to provide services for research and education.
The Staatliches Naturhistorisches Museum is the most important museum of Natural History in the state of Lower Saxony. Because it was formerly the property of the state of Brunswick, the museum's mission and existence are guaranteed by the constitution of Lower Saxony. Together with the Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum and the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, the SNHM forms the Niedersächsische Landesmuseen Braunschweig.


Being over 250 years old, our collections are some of the oldest worldwide. With about 500,000 objects (about 320,000 invertebrates, 75,000 vertebrates, and 45,000 fossils) they belong to the three largest natural history collections of Lower Saxony. Particularly our collection of birds with over 50,000 specimens is one of the most extensive in the state and of international importance. Additionally, our collections include a significant number of type specimens and extinct species. Type specimens are the original specimen a species is described by and have to be permanently available for scientific research. Many of our collections were donated by regional collectors and therefore represent a special treasure. Our collections are irreplaceable archives of life in this region and beyond. Because of this, they are invaluable and must be preserved for future generations. With the help of modern technology, we archive, preserve, and do research on our collections. To make the scientific data publicly available for research, the collection-data is transferred to modern databases on the internet. Our collections provide information on basic and current issues of natural history, such as the evolution of natural diversity, the extinction of species, and climate change.


The research of our scientists focuses on diverse topics. Generally, these include:

  • The description of yet unidentified living and fossil species and their placement in the natural system of organisms (taxonomy and systematics).
  • The relationship of organisms with their environment and each other in current and past habitats (ecology and paleoecology).
  • The research of evolution, in particular, the reconstruction of the evolutionary history of organisms (phylogeny).

 Our collections are the basis for a variety of research approaches. As part of their research, our scientists go on expeditions and excavations in Germany and abroad and cooperate with other research institutions. The results of our research are included in exhibitions and contribute to a better understanding of nature and environmental awareness of the individual.

Exhibit and Educate

Our museum is a place of wonder and learning, where all those interested can learn about the diversity and uniqueness of life today and in the past. In exhibitions and the aquarium, our visitors can find original natural objects and living animals from around the world. Along with our museum's educational activities and school lessons, the imparting of knowledge turns into a fun and exciting experience. In exhibitions and publications, we also present interesting and spectacular topics of nature and the earth's history, and new insights from our own research.

Sponsors and Partners

Our museum occupies an important place in the cultural landscape of eastern Lower Saxony as evidenced by an extensive circle of sponsors and partners. Our projects are being supported by regional companies and foundations. For research and exhibitions, we attract third-party funding. Citizens interested in natural history can adopt one of our animals or museum specimen, or actively participate in our booster club, the "Gesellschaft für Naturkunde". Volunteer workers and freelancers complete our team. Our project partners are museums in Lower Saxony, Germany, and the world, the Technical University of Brunswick, and other institutions of the ForschungRegion Braunschweig.

Our Staff

 The accomplishments of our museum are based on the dedication and expertise of our staff members. Scientists, taxidermists, graphic artists, craftspeople, animal keepers, the staff in administration and museum attendants, as well as museum educators work hand in hand. With quality assurance and professionalism, we perform the various tasks in front of and behind the scenes to ensure that our museum is prepared for the challenges of the future.