Put your hard hats and safety goggles on and head to this home of science and technology in Merseburg. This unique complex combines all the features of a science center; a museum and a one-off collection of original chemical plants and apparatus used in the chemical industry of the 20th century. The Chemistry Museum, first launched in 1993, is a remarkable center in Europe and aims to pay tribute to the economic and social importance of chemistry using demonstrations of historical and modern achievements. Visitors to this museum complex, young and old, will experience something quite unlike anything else they have visited before.
A history of chemistry
The museum is ideally situated in Central Germany, an important center for the chemical industry. As early as the turn of the 20th century natural resources like coal and salt deposits were attracting the first chemical industries to the area. Very soon, a dense urban conurbation had been created to rival the economic clout of the Ruhr region. Structural changes after German reunification gave the chemical industries in the area a further modernisation boost, and simultaneously offered a rare opportunity to save historically valuable sites from being lost forever. The museum has interesting displays about the history of the industry in this region.
The open-air technology park features a selection of large exhibition pieces (machines, appliances and equipment) relating to the chemistry industry. Visitors can explore around 300 large-scale, in some cases unique, exhibits are on display from a collection unmatched in Europe, with a total of more than 5,000 exhibits. This includes a completely reconstructed ammonia-synthesis chamber, a distillation plant and a historical chemical train. Also, in cooperation with the Merseburg University of Applied Sciences, the Chemistry Museum offers a "Hands-On Chemistry" participatory student lab where young people in the 6th to 12th grades can learn more about chemistry though experimentation. Since 1977 more than 55,000 school students from all over Germany have tried their hand at chemical, physical and technical experiments on subjects like synthetics, cosmetics and environmental protection.
Amongst the planned extensions are exhibition areas on the history and development of the region's industrial heritage, and the enlargement of the hands-on laboratories to a science center. In this way the German Chemistry Museum is becoming a meeting place between chemistry and the chemical industries of the 20th and 21st centuries. A visit to the Chemistry Museum in Merseburg will be a highly educational and entertaining experience and should be high up on your list when you visit the town.