The Altonaer Museum was founded in 1863. It is one of the largest regional museums in Germany and presents the cultural history of Northern Germany with a focus on the development of the Elbe region around Altona, Schleswig-Holstein and the coastal areas next to the North Sea and Baltic.
Facets of Altona’s urban development
On 23 August 1664, Altona was chartered by Danish King Friedrich III. Until 1864, Altona was the second largest city in the Danish Kingdom. And until it was integrated in the city state of Hamburg in 1938, it was the largest city in the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein. In the 17th and 18th centuries Altona de- veloped from being a small fishing village to become a prosperous trading city.
The ground floor of the museum is dedicated to historical shipping in Altona. This department can be experienced by taking a round tour through several rooms and spaces and includes sections on shipping, ship-building, chandlery, fishing and fishing equipment, vehicle construction and maritime decorations.
Optical chamber of wonders
The current exhibition is based on the museum’s stock of 450 magic lantern pictures. It considers the question as to what stories can be told with this set of pictures. Magic lanterns work according to the same principle as the camera obscura, just the other way round.
Children’s Book House
The Children’s Book House in the Altonaer Museum is one of the few places in Germany where you can see original illustra- tions from books for children and teenagers. A series of changing exhibitions showcases the works of renowned illustrators in the Children’s Book House.
Throughout the Altonaer Museum there are many ceramics to be found, because, from the 17th to the 20th century, there were so many potteries and faience producers manufacturing crockery, stoves, tiles and decorative objects in Northern Germany, the Baltic area and the Netherlands.
The Altonaer Museum owns 17 northern German farmers’ parlours or Bauernstuben as they are known. They form a unique ensemble giving us an insight into rural living in the 18th and 19th century. Otto Lehmann, the first director of the Altonaer Museum, travelled around Schleswig-Holstein in about 1900 buying up as many completely original farmers’ parlours for the museum as he could.
Kinderolymp – for children
The Kinderolymp in the Altonaer Museum is a place devoted to children. With the play-ship Altonia at its centre, children and their families will find a whole series of changing exhibitions here.
The Dufke shop
The “Dufke shop”, saved from demolition and rebuilt in the museum, will teach people in times to come about a disappearing form of “communicative shopping”. However, the museum deliberately did not try to reconstruct the shop and stock as it was when it was first built by Magdalene Dufkes’ grandfather Adolf Wülfken in 1890, but instead decided to recreate the situation of the shop in 1978.
Dioramas from the Jürgen Glanz collection
Around 65 dioramas are on display. These were very popular 3-dimensional material-pictures and souvenirs in the 19th century and are now an admirable addition to the museum’s collection of optical media. Playing with optical effects was a popular way of passing the time even before the age of photography.
The Lauenburger Raths-Pharmacist’s shop
The Lauenburger Raths-Pharmacist’s shop was gifted to the museum by pharmacist Margarete Lammers in 1997. Founded directly on the river Elbe in 1736 by the Lauenburg Town Council, it was regularly frequented by sailors from the barges. The sales and work room are now on display, almost at full-scale.
The museum is closed on 24th / 25th December, 31st December and 1st January; on all other public holidays the Altonaer Museum is open from 10.00 – 18.00.
The Altona Museum is barrier-free. Wheelchairs are available to disabled visitors free of charge, and barrier-free lifts lead to all exhibition rooms and the library.
8,50 € for adults
6 € for groups of more than 10
5 € for vocational college students over 18, students under 30, apprentices and trainees, job seekers, social security recipients, young people doing voluntary work in their gap year.
Contact for photography
Tel. 040 428 135-1488
Stiftung Historische Museen Hamburg
Tel. 040 428 135 0
Eat & drink
In the new museum café, visitors and guests can relax and enjoy homemade cakes and tarts, "Franzbrtchen" and hearty treats as well as a changing lunch table.
Monday - Sunday 9.00 - 18.00
The museum shop in the Altonaer Museum has a rich assortment of books, postcards and toys for children and adults, matching the themes of the house.
Monday 10.00 - 18.00
Closed on Tuesday
Wednesday - Sunday 10.00 - 18.00
The library of the Altonaer Museum is a reference library open to the public with a collection of approximately 80,000 volumes, the oldest of which date back to the 18th century. There are 16 seats available for visitors in the reading room.
The main building, mockingly called the “Offending Palace” by Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), was demolished in 1881. Fortunately for us, the garden house of this stately home, purchased by Hamburg banker and philanthropist Salomon Heine (1767 – 1844) at the beginning of the 19th century, was preserved.
The neoclassical country house built by Hamburg Senator Martin Johan Jenisch 1831 – 34, stands in its own extensive park next to the Elbe and, with much of its original interior intact, it gives us a vivid impression of the grand lives led by well-to-do Hanseatic merchants in the middle of the 19th century. The upper floors are now used for special exhibitions, mostly covering art or architecture from the early 19th century or about the relationship between landscape design and architecture.