on request

Opening hours/access:
currently no exhibition

Christine Nawa

Tel.: +49 (0551) 39-26696

The Heinz Kirchhoff Collection differs from other university collections in that it was assembled by one single collector only, gynaecologist Prof. Dr. Heinz Kirchhoff (1905 – 1997), Director of the Göttingen University Women’s Hospital from 1954 to 1973. The collection is not designed to document a specific scientific issue or area, but is a unique assemblage of objects and statuettes demonstrating the many and diverse facets of femininity.

Motivated by the goal of achieving as complete a collection as possible ranging from the Stone Ages to the present day and encompassing different cultures, Kirchhoff went about accumulating his statuettes of women representing – in cultural form – the themes “Woman, mother goddess, fertility idol, maternity” from the late 1950s onwards. For him, what counted was the aesthetic presence of the figures and, above all, their connotations.

By presenting these figures as an exhibition with museum character, he sought to represent the great significance of women not only as the primaeval symbol of human life, but also demonstrating women’s differing roles and hence the esteem in which they are held in each individual society. Combined with this was, in Kirchhoff’s own words, “the wish, by demonstrating the diversity of historical and global examples of esteem or honour for the female sex, to make a contribution not only to reducing the unquestionable underestimation of the woman vis-à-vis the man that still exists today in spite of moves towards change, but to overcome it at last. (…) Achieving equality, equal respect and appreciation of women in every form, and creating the partnership that can only be developed in this way, belongs to the future.”

The collection, parts of which are on display in the University Hospital, consists of some 650 objects, approximately half of them originals and the remainder museum replicas. Some of the items were purchased, while others were received as donations.

Adelgund Emons

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