Jagdschloss Kranichstein Museum
“… plain nature, you might say at the sight of it, and yet it is a masterpiece of art. Poplars, fruit trees, and bushes of all kinds form dense greenery. The alleys are strewn with gravel. The grass is criss-crossed with small canals – watering holes for the chickens, turkeys, and pheasants that populate the park …”
That is how the governess for the nieces of Landgrave Louis IX of Hesse-Darmstadt described the environs of the Kranichstein hunting lodge in 1792. Even though today the small canals have made way for noble beeches and the poultry for wild and Egyptian geese, a stroll through the park or around the bakehouse pond still lets you discover the traces of those and even more distant times.
For more than 400 years, Kranichstein served the Landgraves and Grand Dukes of Hesse-Darmstadt as a hunting lodge. It is one of the few former estates of the House of Hesse-Darmstadt, which have continually been in use and adapted to the prevailing tastes from the beginning of the Landgraviate in the 16th century to date. The hunting lodge saw its heyday in the 18th century, when Landgrave Louis VIII, known also as the great Hunting Landgrave, took up residency at Kranichstein, from where he organized prestigious hunts. Several princely parlours in the style of the 18th century testify to that bustling period.
Hunting scenes by Darmstadt painters, valuable tapestries, and furniture pieces in the baroque and rococo styles give an insight into the court life of that time.
A gallery of imposing deer trophies and an authentic collection of arms, which contains all hunting weapons of the Landgraves of Hesse-Darmstadt, bear witness to their passion for hunting. Anyone who, beyond that, has an interest in the significance of hunting in the history of civilization will find detailed information in the “tour of the history of hunting from prehistory and ancient history to our age”.
Bioversum Kranichstein – museum of biological diversity
Biodiversity and biological invasions – does that bring to mind the rainforest of the Amazon, whose colourfulness and exoticism define our concept of unfathomable abundance of species? No one doubts the importance of biological diversity for all of us. But can we experience biodiversity and biological invasions on our doorstep as well?
The bioversum is part of Kranichstein grounds, an ensemble of hunting lodge, park, beech forest with species-rich fringes, as well as ponds, meadows, brooks, and fields.
It is a living example of the close interconnection between cultural and natural history.
Both 200-square-metre exhibition rooms are set up according to the motto “The visitor is explorer.” The object of research in the exhibition is the beech forest in the form of a large, concentrated diorama, which shows the forest floor throughout the four seasons and, by means of optical tricks, offers glimpses under the floor.
Seventeen workshop stations give visitors the opportunity to examine various aspects of the biodiversity in this section of the forest. Whether the topic is biological invasions or the diversity of species and living spaces in the forest, there are always details to explore as well as tasks and quizzes to perform, which stimulate the detective mind.
The display cabinets and showcases, knowledge corners, and drawers contain an open-ended knowledge.
They encourage personal quests for knowledge, the sharing of observations, and joint new discoveries. The discoveries are as diverse as the visitors.
The transformed museum garden extends the fun of discovery to the outdoors. For those who do not wish to do this on their own, the museum offers regular supervised workshops and visitor labs for families, adults, youngsters, and children.
From 1986 to 1989, Onno Faller did a wood carver apprenticeship, after which she studied “Film and Cooking as an Artistic Genre” at the visual arts college Städelschule in Frankfurt. In 1997, she obtained master training. From 1995 to 1997, she studied exhibition education and culture education in Braunschweig. Since 2008, Onno Faller has been curator of bioversum and Jagdschloss Kranichstein.