The Forschungsmuseum Schöningen uniquely combines the exciting experience of the Palaeolithic with cutting-edge archaeological research in an innovative exhibition concept. Visitors travel back about 300,000 years to the Palaeolithic and meet the first inhabitants of Lower Saxony. In exciting exhibits they experience how a hunting expedition might have taken place about 300,000 years ago. They can marvel at the Schöningen spears in the immediate vicinity of the find location, left about 300,000 years ago and found again in 1994 - and where excavations are still taking place today.
The Schöningen spears are among the most important archaeological finds worldwide. They are the oldest completely preserved wooden weapons in human history and revolutionized our picture of the first humans in Central Europe. For archaeology, they are like an open book, providing a glimpse back into the living world of the Paleolithic. The spears prove: Homo heidelbergensis planned his actions, possessed technological skills, had sophisticated hunting strategies as well as communication skills and a complex social structure. The history of our Paleolithic ancestors had to be rewritten.
Whether school classes, students, families, tourists or experts: the public can look forward to an eventful permanent exhibition, look over the shoulders of the archaeologists at work in a glass laboratory and become researchers themselves in the interactive visitor laboratory. And it is not only in the exhibition, but also in the outdoor area that the living environment of the Palaeolithic era is brought to life. The extensive park a playground and an adventure trail invites visitors to relax. The visit is rounded off by the aesthetic fusion of world-class modern architecture and a Paleolithic-like landscape.
The geological singularity of the Schöningen site also allows a revealing insight into the climatic history of the region. The layers of earth provide unique insights into the climate development between two ice ages. Environmental changes and man's adaptation to them are therefore further thematic complexes in the permanent exhibition. In this way, a link is established to the phenomena and mechanisms of current climate changes.
As a recognized institution of extracurricular learning, the Schöningen Research Museum also offers an extensive, pedagogically prepared program for teachers and school classes, especially with regard to the concept of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
Since July 1, 2019, the State Heritage Office of Lower Saxony State (NLD) has reorganized and restructured the mediation of the archaeology of hunter-gatherer groups of early humans at the Schöningen site as a research museum. In research museums - such as the museums of the Leibniz Association - research, collection and mediation are thought to be inseparable. The Schöningen Research Museum is the first to anchor the unique site of research in the open-cast lignite mine in Schöningen in this unity in the region and in the system of cultural institutions in southeastern Lower Saxony in the long term, cooperating closely with the research partners.
March to October:
Tuesday to Sunday
10.00 till 17.00
November to February:
Wednesday to Sunday
11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
Café and Bistro zum Elmsee is open Wednesday through Saturday 11:30 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday 11:30 am to 5:00 pm.
Recommendation to wear FFP2 masks: As of April 3, 2022, the known corona safety measures no longer apply. In view of high incidences, we strongly recommend continuing to wear a medical or FFP2 mask while visiting our exhibitions for the protection of our guests and employees. In the context of guided tours, the wearing of masks continues to be mandatory.
Who we are
The Schöningen Research Museum presents its world-famous archaeological excavation results, the oldest wooden weapons in the world, in close proximity to the site where they were found. In addition, it offers award-winning architecture on a spacious landscape, directly on the edge of the former open-cast mine.
Here, visitors will find concentrated expertise on the Palaeolithic and its neighboring disciplines, as well as on conservation and restoration science. We combine the preservation of archaeological monuments and cutting-edge research with attractive education in an innovative exhibition concept and see ourselves as an interface between science and society. Here, the public can experience archaeology live, take a look behind the scenes and thus develop a basic understanding of scientific methods.
Our museum is open to all, and we work with a wide variety of methods to provide access to diverse groups of visitors. The focus of our activities is on families and schoolchildren. But we also want to reach older people, students, tourists from all over Germany and people with disabilities. We organize hands-on activities, educational events, lectures, excavation tours and much more. The varied program of the extracurricular place of learning for education for sustainable development offers various opportunities for schools, kindergartens, universities and other educational institutions. It combines archaeology and its neighboring sciences with the idea of sustainability for a positive and future-oriented development of mankind. In order to create ever new incentives for our guests, we organize changing temporary exhibitions.
For these offers a highly motivated team is working with heart and soul and enthusiasm to shape the museum. The sponsoring association "Schöninger Speere - Erbe der Menschheit" is a reliable supporter.
What we want
The Schöningen Research Museum is a globally important site for research on the Palaeolithic period with strong integration into the cultural landscape and the partner field in southeastern Lower Saxony. In order to be perceived internationally beyond science, we are creating a wide range of digital formats that enable participation across all borders. The house is embedded in a strong network of cooperations and develops with the support of the citizens in the region. We are constantly expanding these connections.
We want to strengthen the creative competence of children and young people for a future worth living in. As a contact for the entire field of education, we are the interface of an education for sustainable development that brings together different actors, stimulates projects and structures and supports them. We strive for accessibility in the sense of spatial and haptic accessibility and want to reach different target groups through an innovative offer without restrictions.
What is important to us
We are neutral, independent and committed to the principles of good scientific practice, as they form the basis of our credibility. We consider the UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals to be an indispensable part of our work; as a science location on the edge of a former open-cast lignite mine, this is a core concern for us. Our actions are characterized by openness, enthusiasm and creativity. Our permanent exhibition is regularly revised, and current research results are quickly integrated. We are constantly working on new concepts and ideas on how we can bring our diverse topics closer to visitors.