The development of mining was closely linked to social and political changes in the state. The Thirty Years and Seven Years Wars led to huge setbacks because many mines and metallurgy establishments were destroyed.
An educational reform, which also spread into mining, was supposed to lead the state out of crisis after the Seven Years War.
The Freiberg Bergakademie was founded in 1765, two years after the end of the war. Here, miners were given a well-founded training in the oldest Montane school in the world that encompassed extraction and reprocessing and further processing of raw materials.
Mining and education propelled one another forwards and with improved scientific and technological know-how mining and metallurgy became a profitable business again.
The extensively operated mining boom left deep scars in the countryside. Johann Heinrich Cotta, a forestry scientist, opposed the overexploitation of nature with „Waldbau“, or silviculture, a form of sustainable forestry.
Cotta was trained by his father, a royal forester from Weimar for 15 years, and then went to Jena university to study mathematics, naturalism and cameralism. During his studies he was already giving lessons in the science of forestry alongside his father.
When the Royal Saxonian Administration under August I was looking for a new manager for the forestry survey institute, Cotta was given the position. In 1811 he moved to Tharandt with his private Forestry Educational Establishment, which was later raised to the rank of Royal Saxonian Forest Academy. This is regarded as the second oldest forest academy in the world.
It taught mathematics, botany and surveying. Some of the teaching aids used as well as instruments used for measuring trees are part of this exhibition.
It was the forest establishment Cotta developed and the introduction of yield tables that made a regulated and sustainable forest cultivation possible.