Welcome to the so called Orphanage Cabinet. The 300 year history of the foundations is presented under the title »Changing the world by changing people«. Let's start the tour, of course, with the father of the institutions: August Hermann Francke (1663-1727). His portrait hangs on the wall to the right of the room. It was painted around 1750, after Francke's death, and depicts him at the age of about 55.

In 1692, Francke had taken up the pastorate in Glaucha. At that time, Glaucha was still a small town outside the city gates of Halle and - as we would say today - a social hotspot: poverty and drunkenness were omnipresent. Especially the children, and among them above all the orphans, suffered from the misery. He saw his decisive task in remedying the social ills through better education of the children.


... a plant garden in which one can expect a real improvement in all estates in and outside Germany, indeed in Europe and all other parts of the world.

August Hermann Francke

In the first display case, a historical donation box and copies of contemporary coins refer to the founding history of the institutions. 4 thalers and 16 groschen formed the modest foundation. When Francke found this collection one day in the donation box at his vicarage, he is said to have uttered the legendary sentence:

That is a honest capital, which must be used to found something fitting: I will use it to start a school for the poor.

August Hermann Francke

Francke began building the orphanage in 1698. At the same time, he received the founding privilege for his institutions from the Brandenburg Elector Friedrich III. The electoral privilege confirmed Francke's private initiative as a public work, i.e. a non-profit organisation, and supported it with legal and tax benefits. The oldest plan of the Halle orphanage from 1705 can be seen on the wall. The numbers show what the individual parts of the building and rooms were used for.

Glasses from the Orphanage Pharmacy refer to the economic foundations of the institutions. Two of them are hand painted and show the two eagles soaring towards the sun. They also adorn the tympanum at the front of the orphanage as a large emblem. The small packages on display here are also interesting: they are packages of medicines from the orphanage's medical expedition. Orphanage medicine was in demand all over the world and brought in large profits for the institutions, which were used to expand the social and educational facilities.

The Halle Orphanage maintained worldwide relations. On display here is a diorama showing the reception of the Salzburg Lutherans in front of the orphanage on 21 April 1732. At the beginning of the 1730s, tens of thousands of Lutherans had been expelled from the Catholic archbishopric of Salzburg and had been forced to leave their homeland almost overnight.

Want to find out more about the monument?

The bust in front of you shows August Hermann Niemeyer (1754-1828). It was he who saved the foundations from ruin at the beginning of the 19th century. Niemeyer was a learned theologian and respected educationalist. He worked as a politician, poet and publicist and was associated with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller.

Despite immense financial problems caused by the economic crisis, the foundations were able to continue to exist during the Weimar Republic. Without surrendering their leading position as an traditional centre of education, the Foundations moved with the times to intergrate new pedagogical movements focused on learning from the child's perspective.                                                                                    

The building ensemble of the Francke Foundations has been extended several times in over 300 years. The use of individual buildings and parts of buildings also changed with new requirements. At the large monitor, you can travel interactively through the development and transformation of the site from 1698 to 1750 and learn more about the building history of the Francke Foundations.

Chapter selection

Orphanage Cabinet

Pietism Cabinet


Exhibition information

Logo - Bundesregierung (Medien und Kultur)
Logo - Freundeskreis der Franckeschen Stiftungen
Logo - Sachsen Anhalt (Kultusministerium)