The Sorbian museum also has special rooms with a total area of 220 m². The exhibitions are complementary and add further depth to the selection of permanent exhibitions and are mostly concerned with national minorities or regional characteristics – suitable for our museum. Slavic nationalities and their cultural traditions are of particular interest. The art exhibitions complement the programmatic orientation and open up a new way of looking at certain topics.
What’s on 2022
17 Oct. – 24 Apr. 2022 5 x Germany – Photographer Jörg Müller
15 May – 04 Sept. 2022 Party in the 21. century – Slovak national costumes with Body painting
02 Oct. – 26 Febr. 2023 The Sorbian painter Jan Buck – anniversary exhibition
„Čej´ da sy? Roots in change”
14 May 2023 – 24 October 2023
The life of the catholic Sorbs is based on their native language, their christian faith and their traditions. „Čej´ da sy?”, which roughly translates to „Who do you belong to?”, is the question people ask, when a stranger rings the door bell, because usually people know each other. But the world doesn´t stand still in the triangle between Bautzen, Kamenz and Hoyerswerda. Just like the Klosterwasser, the little stream that runs trough the fertile land around the monestary of St. Marienstern.
In our modern world things are more individual and pluralistic than they were a hundred years ago. The older generation starts to question old habits. As does the younger generation, who is discovering the world. But are their roots strong enough, so that they will return eventually? Maybe you will find the answer if you take a look through the colourful prism of “Čej´ da sy? – Roots in change”.
The permanent exhibition at the Sorbian Museum in Bautzen leads you on an 830 m² tour from the early history to the present day. There is a thematically independent department of visual arts.
Start of the exhibition
The first part of the exhibition in the foyer presents a historical and linguistic classification of today’s Sorbs and their ancestors. Selected exhibits from each part of the museum will give you an overview of the central areas of the Sorbian identity.
In the following room the time of Slavic settlement, the High Middle Ages and the Reformation in Lusatia is shown. The next exhibition space displays areas of typical regional craft – for example forest beekeeping, fisheries and aquaculture, which formed an important industry since the Middle Ages.
Working and living conditions of the sorbs
Afterwards, you enter an area divided into four rooms with the themes: domestic living, costumes and customs during the course of the year. This includes traditional music.
The literature exhibition can be found in the ballroom. The largest room of the museum has two floors, because it used to be the court room of the Amtsgericht (local court) Bautzen. It is decorated with pictures of Sorbian scientists and writers. Beneath the gallery, the triptych by the Slovenian artist Ante Trstenjak shows important thinkers and creators of culture of the Sorbian cultural movement. The glass cases beneath the gallery display old prints and literary monuments.
On the left and right hand side of the room, there are cabinets with the works of important representatives of literary modernism. In the gallery, you can relax in the library and page through one of the numerous books.
Special events such as concerts and exhibition openings are held in the ballroom.
After the ballroom, the tour leads you to modern times and the national movement in general. Here the national consciousness of Slavic people, the literary and scientific studies of the Sorbian -Wends as well as other key factors of historical development are presented. In the middle of the space is the so-called Smoler room – as a reference to the outstanding personality of the Sorbian national revival.
A separate plaque is dedicated to the Sorbian emigrants overseas.
The ballroom doors lead into the special exhibition area in the east wing of the building.
Children's museum & Contemporary history
The visitors can look at the area dedicated to “Early Childhood”. The combined children’s museum is also an educational area and part of the permanent exhibition.
The department of modern history displays the development of the Sorbian associations, from the time of foundation until the reunification of Germany, and the position of the German public authorities as well as various other aspects of being a Sorb. And finally, we arrive at the present time.
This is a nice opportunity to leave the “historical timeline” and receive a visual impression not only of Sorbian but also of Upper Lusatia and Lausitz – enjoy this tour through the department of fine arts.
The Sorbian Museum has the largest collection of Sorbian art, including impressive portrayals and portraits of people, landscapes and watercolour paintings.
Bookable traveling exhibition
„Bevor du gehst“ (before you go)
Photos by Matthias Bulang
An extensive collection of photos of the last Sorbian costume makers in Bautzen by the photographer Matthias Bulang (created 1985-2011) was the starting point of an exhibition and book project entitled “Bevor du gehst”. This project was run in collaboration with two other Sorbian artists – the writer Róža Domašcyna and the composer Měrćin Weclich.
Classic black-and-white photos that Matthias Bulang has taken with a conventional plate camera are exhibited. He places the women portrayed into a distinctive environment and provides them with vocational and work-specific elements. The women in these photos remain nameless and stand for all women of their generation. Most of women are no longer alive. The almost life-size portraits convey the illusion that the women are still among us and looking straight at us.
In this short moment, you forget about the question: What will we have lost, when none of these women are among us anymore?
These photos by Matthias Bulang are a tribute to all the plain Sorbian women who heroically mastered everyday life. Despite the loads imposed on their generation and the hostility they had to face because of their Sorbian dress and native language, they kept their courage, faith and love to their people.
This is a multimedia exhibition. With headphones the visitor can listen to texts of the Sorbian poet Róža Domašcyna. The poet reflects on the life of her mother, who also wore the Sorbian costume. Domašcyna approaches the questions about the meaning of life and wants to know what drew this generation of women together.
The Sorbian composer Měrćin Weclich was inspired by these photographs. His compositions that have been specially created for these pictures frame the spoken word and make an emotional connection to the photographs of the exhibition.
48 banners with art photographs and quotations in Upper Sorbian and German
Dimensions: each 800 x 2500 mm
1 title banner, dimensions 1300 x 2500 mm
"Serbska hola. Slědy w pěsku"
In the heath region. Sorbian traditions on a razor’s edge?
The exhibition explores the Sorbian roots of the Lusatian heath region between Senftenberg, Hoyerswerda, Spremberg, Weißwasser and Bad Muskau. Furthermore, the identity and changing values of the people living there – including the influence of industrialization – is examined.
The unique costumes and traditions of the Sorbs in the heath region have survived to this day – however, this traditional and several centuries old system is on a razor’s edge due to brown coal mining, the destruction of Sorbian towns and the influx of thousands of immigrants into the area.
“Sorbisches auf der Kippe – Sorbian traditions on a razor’s edge” – the title of this exhibition consciously plays with certain associations. Because not only Sorbian villages but also the Sorbian language and identity in this region are on a razor’s edge. And, a lot of memories are carelessly thrown away. But exactly because of this loss, the interest in the preservation of the heritage of the ancestors is growing.
10 roll-ups in Upper Sorbian and German with numerous photographs
Dimensions: each 2000 mm x 1000 mm