The history of the Johanneum
The Johanneum has a history of more than 400 years, which is closely connected with the electors and kings of Saxony as well as their collections. The listed Renaissance building of 1586 has been connected with transport since its origin. During the years 1586 to 1591 Christian I, Elector of Saxony, extended the Residenzschloss (Dresden Palace) by a tournament ground and a building for housing the electoral stables, coach house and armoury from the Georgenbau building located in the area between the two town walls to the southeast. Two halls on the building’s ground floor provided plenty of space for carriages, coaches and 128 horses. Several building alterations followed – the last under the art-minded King John, whose name the building has been bearing since 1876.
The Langer Gang colonnade, which is now housing the shipping exhibition, was built on an old town wall. It linked the old Stallgebäude (Stable Building) with the palace, forming an ornamental façade facing the Stallhof (tournament ground). The former centre of chivalry games and show tournaments is now Europe’s oldest preserved renaissance courtyard. The 22 Tuscan columns that support the open arcade are ornated with animal heads and shields of Saxon Royalty. There are sgraffito paintings on the window side. On the outside front is the famous Fürstenzug, the Princely Procession porcelain mural.
The building history also demonstrates the different types of use, such as Armoury, Picture Gallery, Porcelain Collection and Historical Museum. During the Second World War, the Johanneum was almost completely destroyed. Its reconstruction and expansion into an exhibition building began in 1954. In 1968 the reconstruction of the Johanneum was completed.
Starting in 2008, the Johanneum underwent a renovation of its façade, including windows and exterior doors, in the neo-Renaissance style (building alteration phase 1872 – 1876). By 2009/2010 Dresden’s oldest exhibition building will shine again in its old splendour.
The history of the Dresden Transport Museum (Verkehrsmuseum Dresden)
With its 50-year-old history, the Dresden Transport Museum (VMD) is one of Dresden’s newer museums. Its inception in 1952 as one of the first cultural institutions in the former GDR after the Second World War was directly connected with the establishment of the Hochschule für Verkehrswesen (College of Transport).
The origin and tradition of the museum, however, can be dated to the year 1877, when the collectiton of the later Saxon Railway Museum began, which was housed in the Dresden-Neustadt railway station until the Second World War. Our museum, therefore, traces back to one of Germany’s oldest technical collections.
The holdings of the Saxon Railway Museum (only partly surviving after 1945) were taken over by the future VMD as its first exhibits. In the first years, the work concentrated on the collection, categorization and preparation of suitable exhibition material, including an expansion to all modes of transport. Before the reconstruction and development of the ruin of the Johanneum started in 1954, the new museum was first housed in a shed at the Dresden-Neustadt goods station.
During the 750th anniversary of Dresden in 1956, the first completed construction section on the ground floor housed the first exhibition on '120 years of Saxon Transport history'. After further special exhibitions, the part of the museum that was housing the permanent Railway exhibition, could be opened to the public in 1958. Since the inauguration of the Aviation/Aeronautics exhibition (1970/72), all exhibition areas (railway, cars and bicycles, local public transport, shipping, and air traffic) have been presented at the museum.
In connection with the the reestablishment of the Free State of Saxony in 1990, the VMD obtained the status of a State Museum. The museum celebrated its 50th year of existence with a ceremony in 2002.
In 2006, a change in sponsorship took place; the VMD became a gGmbH (limited non-profit company).