The showcase of Saxon archaeology is the Staatliche Museum für Archäologie Chemnitz (State Museum for Archaeology in Chemnitz –smac), which opened in 2014. A showcase in a double sense. The location of the museum is the former Schocken department store with its curved window façade – an icon of the architectural movement “Neues Bauen”. The renowned architect Erich Mendelsohn planned it at the end of the 1920s for the department store chain owned by the brothers Simon and Salman Schocken.
Modern, innovative and surprising – that is how the “smac” presents 300,000 years of cultural history on three floors. Visitors experience the change from a natural to a cultural landscape first-hand. They move between glaciers, research the differences and similarities of the Neanderthal man and the Homo sapiens. They turn into humans of the first centuries AD and stroll along the more than 40-metre-long showcase wall containing surprising everyday objects from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Age.
Three additional areas deal with the “archaeology of the department store”: The exhibition on the life and work of the architect Mendelsohn, on the development and organisation of the Schocken department store chain as well as on the intriguing personality Salman Schocken pay tribute to the eventful history of the museum’s building.