The history of
the Transport Museum

As one of the first cultural institutions in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the Transport Museum was founded in 1952 in direct connection with the establishment of the University of Transportation (Hochschule für Verkehr­swesen) after the Second World War. However, its roots can be traced back to 1877, when the collection that later became the Saxon Railway Museum (from 1902) was started. The museum was first situated on Wiener Straße, moving to the Dresden-Neustadt train station in 1921.

In 1954, the Johanneum building on Neumarkt square, which had been severely damaged in the bombing raids of 1945, was given to the Transport Museum to use as an exhibition space. Today a listed building, this Renaissance building dating back to 1586 has been linked to transport ever since it was first constructed, having been used as a stable for the Saxon court.

To celebrate Dresden’s 750-year jubilee, the first exhibition opened in 1956 entitled “120 Years of Saxon Transport History”. The permanent exhibitions were gradually introduced as the Johanneum underwent reconstruction. The railway exhibition came first in 1958, followed by the exhibition on the history of navigation one year later.

Today, the Transport Museum brings together exhibitions on the four branches of transport under one roof: road, rail, air and water. There is also a space for special exhibitions and an adventure zone for children. As of 2012, the exhibitions on aviation, road transport, navigation and railway transport have all been completely reworked.

The Transport Museum has been a non-profit limited liability company (gGmbH) since 2006. Shareholders include the City of Dresden and the Transport Museum Support Society (Gesellschaft zur Unterstützung des Verkehrsmuseum).

  • 1952

    The Transport Museum is founded in Dresden as one of the first cultural institutions in the GDR following the Second World War.

    Studenten und Angestellte der HfV helfen beim Wiederaufbau des Johanneums
  • 1956

    The first exhibition, entitled “120 Years of Saxon Transport History”, is opened to celebrate Dresden’s 750-year jubilee.

    Chaisenträger transportieren Exponat oder Einrichtungsobjekt in das Verkehrsmuseum Dresden um 1956
  • 1958

    The first permanent exhibition on railway transport is opened. In the same year, the exhibitions motor transport, public transport and navigation also open.

    Die Muldenthal wird gegen 1958 in das Johanneum transportiert
  • 1970/72

    With the arrival of the exhibition on aviation, all exhibition branches are now represented in the museum (railway, road transport, navigation and aviation).

    3 Frauen stehen am Ballonkorb Plauen um 1970/72
  • 1990

    The Free State of Saxony is re-established, and the museum is granted status as a state museum.

    Außenansicht des Johanneums um 1990
  • 2006

    Change of trusteeship: The Transport Museum becomes a non-profit limited liability company (gGmbH). Shareholders include the City of Dresden and the Transport Museum Support Society.

    Außenansicht des Johanneums um 2006
  • 2012

    The new permanent exhibition on aviation opens.

    Familie blickt von Empore auf Exponate der Dauerausstellung Luftfahrt
  • 2015

    The new permanent exhibition on road transport opens: the exhibits on automobiles, bicycles and utility vehicles are consol­idated; the atrium is converted into an events venue.

    Ausstellungsraum Straßenverkehr
  • 2017

    The new permanent exhibition on navigation is launched.

    Familie am Steuerrad in der Dauerausstellung "Schiffahrt"
  • 2020

    The new permanent exhibition on railway opened.

    Die Dampflokomotive Saxonia mit roten Rädern in der Ausstellung Schienenverkehr
  • 2024

    The Transport Museum becomes the owner of the “Johanneum” for the next 30 years.

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