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Exhibitions

The IfL shows results of his research as well as scientific exhibits from the collections of the Institute from time to time in the form of exhibitions. Some are designed as a traveling exhibition and presentation can be provided on request.

Contact

Dr Heinz Peter Brogiato
h_brogiato@leibniz-ifl.de
Tel.: +49 341 600 55-126

The world of the Andes

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South America has always exuded a magical appeal to researchers of nature and artists from the German-speaking countries. The highpoint  of this long tradition of research was Alexander von Humboldt's journey to Latin America from 1799 to 1804. A century later, in 1903, the Leipzig-based geographer Hans Meyer and the Munich-based painter Rudolf Reschreiter set off for Ecuador, to explore the Upper Andes. Meyer researched glaciers and volcanos, painstakingly documenting the trip in diaries and photographs; Reschreiter painted the mountain landscapes.

The exhibition places Meyer's  and Reschreiter's expedition into the broader context of Andes research. 14 panels of information introduce the two protagonists, visualising a variety of facets of the journey through Reschreiter's paintings and Meyer's photographs. Comparing the historical photos with shots from more recent research graphically demonstrates the changes experienced by that South American country, its landscapes and towns. The exhibition also takes up the topic of the development of research into the Andes, as well as the artistic presentation of the Andes, conveying impressions from modern-day geo-scientific research.

To the New World, aboard the "Saale"

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One of the first providers of package trips in Germany was Carl Stangen from Berlin. Between 1868 and 1899 his travel bureau conducted 686 tours, to the ancient sites of the Mediterranean region, into the Orient, to east Asia, and indeed also around the whole world. In 1893 the World Exhibition in Chicago served as the occasion to offer a trip right across the north American continent.  On 6 May 1893 the fast steamer "Saale" set sail from Bremerhaven, carrying 57 passengers who afforded themselves the luxury of discovering the New World for 5,400 marks, 400 years after Columbus’s journey.

A member of the group, which called itself "Stangen’s party", was William Davignon from Liège. En route he bought photographs as souvenirs of the trip, later putting together a marvellous photo album with 191 pictures in all. This material provides the basis for the exhibition. It shows photographs from dynamically developing metropolises - New York, Washington and Chicago - but also pictures of nature’s marvels in the west of the USA. The professional photographs, as taken by renowned American photographs such as Charles Dudley Arnold, Charles Roscoe Savage or Isaiah West Taber, convey unique impressions of the United States at the end of the 19th century.

Fascinating far-off worlds

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On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Leipzig Geographical Society in 2011, the Archive for Geography put up a poster exhibition titled „Faszination Ferne“ (The Fascination of Distant Lands). On thirty poster boards, drawing from the archive´s holdings, the history of the Society and aspects of the history of Leipzig geography were shown. The exhibition was presented in the Leipzig New Town Hall and in the Main Train Station „Promenades“.

Leipzig around 1900

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Like many other cities, until the mid-19th century Leipzig essentially consisted of the medieval core of the city, surrounded by small suburbs and villages. It was not until industrialisation came that the parts of the city merged together, and with the conversion of the inner city at the dawn of the 20th century, Leipzig ultimately became a pulsating metropolis.

This transition is documented in picture postcards, among other sources; the IfL’s collection alone encompasses 5,000 motifs. The exhibition of posters shows locations and buildings in Leipzig on 80 large-format boards, comparing coloured picture postcards from the 1900-1920 period with photographs of the same motifs today. In this way, what emerges is a strikingly vivid picture of the city at the start of the 20th century, making the far-reaching changes which took place in the 20th century readily recognisable.

The basis for the exhibition is the following volumes of pictures from the Lehmstedt-Verlag publishing house - "Leipzig um 1900. Die Innenstadt in kolorierten Ansichtskarten" ("Leipzig Around 1900. The Inner City In Coloured Picture Postcards") by Heinz Peter Brogiato. The show was in two parts  – showing the inner city and various districts of the city – and was on display from April to October 2009 in Leipzig's City Library.

Travelling with Carl Stangen - Photographs from a trip to America 1893

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As a consumer good affordable to many, the package tour is now a code for standardised mass tourism. In the early days of the organized group excursion in the 19th century, only a few could afford such a trip: 5400 marks, several times the annual wage of an industrial worker, were paid by tourists for the 84-day package tour to the USA offered by German travel pioneer Carl Stangen in 1893.

The route of the 57-member group led from New York to San Francisco on the Pacific coast. Among the participants was William Davignon, listed on the passenger list of the fast steamer "Saale" chartered for the Atlantic crossing as a "student from Liège". The Belgian not only loved to travel, but was also a passionate collector. From his possession comes the photo album "Reise in die USA 1893" (Journey to the USA 1893), which is now in the archive of the IfL together with 18 other splendid albums of the later privateer.

The exhibition "Travelling  with Carl Stangen - Photos from a trip to America 1893", which was on display in the Leipzig City Library from June to September 2018, draws from this source. The photographs, most of which were taken by professional American photographers, show a country on the verge of becoming a global economic power. Modern urban planning and transport technology are in the foreground in the East, while the West of the USA is presented as a country of overwhelming natural beauty. Only in a few pictures do European stereotypes of the "Wild West" shine through. They originate from the travel group itself.

Universitas Antarctica

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From the mid-19th century there was comprehensive campaigning from interested private individuals in Germany, in favour of German polar research. When Germany became a united nation in 1871, the German Reich – against the background of the race to gain the last "white areas on the map", i.e. areas not already claimed by other European empires - resolved to finance an expedition to Antarctica.

On 11 August 1901 the sailing ship "Gauss" set off on a two-year research trip to Antarctica. Among the 32 crew members were scientists of various disciplines. The geographer Erich von Drygalski (1865–1949) managed the scientific aspects  of the project. When the ship anchored again at its home port Kiel on 25 November 1903, the scientific findings were so very extensive that over a hundred specialists worked on assessing them between 1905 and 1931.

The exhibition presents documents from the exhibition which were handed over to the then Museum for Regional Geography in 1931. 26 poster boards present the course and the research results of this expedition, as well as the many years of planning and preparation; this is in addition to international cooperations among the south pole researchers, and the framework conditions relating to science policy within which the team operated in the Kaiser’s Imperial Germany.

Presents now past – facets of the Archive for Geography

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In the Archive for Geography there are around 130 bequeathals made by renowned geographers from higher education, travelling researchers and private learned individuals, as collections of documents from geographical clubs, associations and editorial teams of periodicals. This material reflects the history of geography as a discipline in the 19th and 20th centuries.

On 26 poster boards, the exhibition shows 14 representative stocks of items intended to serve as examples. One area of emphasis is significant representatives from the study of geography in Leipzig institutions of higher education, who decisively shaped German and international geography:

  • Friedrich Ratzel (1844–1904), who counts as the founder of anthropogeography and whose political geography and ethnography was later used as argumentation for asserting a scientific basis for certain views on geopolitics and on races;
  • Joseph Partsch (1851–1925), who made a name for himself as a specialist in regional geography, both domestically and abroad as an explorer of other countries,  as well as a glacial morphologist;
  • Ernst Neef (1908–1984), who from his bases in Leipzig and Dresden decisively shaped landscape ecology as a science, developing a large school for this field of scientific enquiry;
  • Hans Meyer (1858–1929), who became famous through research trips to Africa and South America, acquiring fame in 1899 as the first person to climb Kilimanjaro.

The documents from the First German South Pole Expedition (1901-1903), also on display, or Emil Trinkler's 1927/28 Central Asia Expedition, offer interesting insights into the everyday research work of the geographers. Also presented are the geographical science structures which were in place during the Nazi regime or in the GDR Communist years. Finally the exhibition vividly presents aspects of the more recent history of ideas in this discipline, such as the Central Place Theory by Walter Christaller or the social geography of Wolfgang Hartke.