The permanent collection has an impressive variety of exhibits. There are archeological finds from the New Stone Age (Neolithic Age), reminders of the occasion when the reformer Dr Martin Luther was summoned to appear in Worms, and also one of the largest collections of Roman glassware in Germany.
Read more about the impressive variety of the exhibits in our permanent collection here, or even better, come and see for yourself!
The permanent exhibition contains a large number of archeological finds from Worms and nearby parts of Rhenish Hesse (Rhinehessen) that date from the
New Stone Age (Neolithic Age) and the Bronze Age, including the so-called Adlerberg Culture. Jewelry and other treasures found in the graves of princes in Rhenish Hesse date from the time around 400 BCE.
The exhibits in the Roman section of the museum are particularly impressive. Following the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (in the year 9 CE), the Rhine marked the boundary of the Roman Empire, and Worms became the site of a Roman fort. Romanized Celts, mainly from Gaul, settled in Rhenish Hesse, and from around 80 CE, the little town called Borbetomagus developed as the most important place in the Citivas Vangionum. There was a forum (under the present cathedral) and a temple, and a grid street plan was created.
Finds from this time can be admired in the museum, for example consecration inscriptions, altars and tombstones, but also articles of everyday use.
As well as tableware produced in pottery workshops and intended for local use, you can see examples of terra sigillata and face jugs from Worms (“Wormser Gesichtskrüge“).
Archeological digs have also unearthed magnificent examples of glassware and a large number of other finds for the museum.
The prosperity of the Roman period ended with the Migration Period. Only a few objects have been found from the period after 450 AD. Although there is evidence of Germanic immigrants in the late 3rd and early 4th century with neck rings and combs, early Christian gravestones with Latin text and Germanic names only attest to a new population from the middle of the 5th century.
A Burgundian kingdom in Worms in the first half of the 5th century, which is difficult to pin down historically, has been passed down in legend form. Despite the destruction of this kingdom by the Romans, the Roman military presence on the Rhine disappeared soon afterwards.
You can explore the city's history since the early Middle Ages on the 2nd floor of our museum. Worms, which was apparently only sparsely populated, and the area that is now Rheinhessen were settled by the Franks around 500 AD. Frankish women wore necklaces and heavy gold disc brooches as jewelry at their burial. Men were often buried with weapons, such as the magnificent spatha with a gold handle set with almandines. Glass beakers have now been restored and found their way into the museum as grave goods.
The other exhibits bear witness to the turbulent history of Worms in the following centuries between bishop, city council and emperor. They illustrate the warlike events such as feuds, the Peasants' War and the great destruction of the city in 1689, the flourishing trades and the handling of crime and punishment in the Middle Ages and early modern times. A 3D film reconstruction and individual architectural fragments show the former splendor of St. John's Church, the Romanesque baptistery of the cathedral, which was demolished in the 19th century.
is the motto of the new exhibition cabinet set up in 2023, which is dedicated to the courageous appearance of the reformer Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms in 1521.
With his publicly declared refusal to retract his provocative writings and theological convictions before the emperor and the empire, the professor from Wittenberg risked life and limb and the destruction of his publications on the 17th and 18th of April 1521, having already been excommunicated from the church.
How this trial of strength came about, which actors and interests were at work behind the scenes of the political stage, what happened (and what didn't) in the Worms bishop's court and how ‘Brother Martin’ disappeared from the scene after the Diet of Worms through a secret mission, only to appear incognito shortly afterwards as ‘Junker Jörg’ at Wartburg Castle near Eisenach with his ground-breaking translation of the Bible – this and much more can be seen in concentrated form in the section "Here I stand! – Luther in Worms": especially, but not only, for declared admirers of the important, but therefore also polarising reformer.
The Romanesque cloisters on two sides of a picturesque inner courtyard contain Roman, medieval and modern tombs and tombstones which give an insight into the eventful history of the city of Worms.