We’re delighted that you’ve decided to visit the Family Museum! The first thing visitors see on their way in is a small cannon on a gun carriage. It’s a finely crafted miniature specimen that’s definitely not loaded. Four of the original artillery pieces also survive. You’ll be able to see them on Kanonenplatz, Cannon Square, if you decide to take a guided tour of the castle.
In a way, the Family Museum is the dynasty’s treasure chamber. Numerous items from the personal estates of family members are on display here, including hunting weapons, uniforms, medals and costumes. The Princes of Solms-Braunfels were also dedicated collectors of coins, seals, antiquities, mineral specimens and stunning glassware and porcelain.
Since at least the Renaissance, the act of collecting has been an important feature of court culture. Universal collections not only served to showcase the owners’ power and wealth, but also their education and good taste. However, hardly anyone ever had sight of the princely collections. It was not until the 18th, and especially the 19th century, that a few palaces in Germany welcomed visitors – who, in exchange for paying an entrance fee, were permitted to acquire an education in cultural matters.
Braunfels Castle first opened its doors to the public in 1847, when visitors were able to view the newly built Rittersaal, the Great Hall. Some 30 years later, in 1878, the timber-built carriage house beneath the Great Hall was converted into the present museum. The rooms housed the antiquities collection at the time. Another twenty years went by. 1895 was the first year in which the records list receipts reflecting regular museum operations, which have continued ever since. Even during this early period, the Castle Museum and the Family Museum were separate, as they still are today.
We look forward to introducing you to the delights of our Family Museum and its exhibits – some of which may seem unremarkable at first glance. We hope you enjoy your visit and discover many fascinating, and occasionally curious, insights into the princely family’s history!
All depictions: © Schloss Braunfels