Current Exhibits

A selection of our current exhibits

  • Emeralds from Habachtal

    The emerald source in the Habachtal valley, at Bramberg in Oberpinzgau, is the only significant occurrence of emeralds in Central Europe and has been known since 1669.

    Duchess Anna Maria de Medici mentioned the emerald mine in a letter to her brother Gian Gastone, the last Grand Duke Medici of Tuscany, at the beginning of the 18th century, in reference to a report by the Danish priest and naturalist Niels Stensen.

    Favourable geological conditions have allowed emeralds to form in the talcose mica schist over the millennia. The six-sided beryls, which, structurally, belong to the cyclosilicates group, were coloured green by chromium. The more chromium there is in the beryl, the more intensive the green.

    Seven Habachtal emeralds were set into Abbot Albert Nagnzaun’s splendid pectoral cross in 1786. Nagnzaun, as Albert IV, was abbot of St. Peter’s Abbey from 1818 until his death in 1856. The pectoral cross is now kept in St. Peter’s.

    Alois Steiner, a geologist from Bramberg, was able to make a significant discovery when he split open talcose schist rock to find a 40 cm mineral layer with 24 nearly pure, deep green emeralds. It was in the shape of the Madonna and is known as the Emerald Madonna (TXTL1) today. This layer of emeralds can be admired in the Museum Bramberg in the national park exhibition Emeralds and Crystals.

    At 2200 m above sea level, a total of four tunnels were made in the mountain over the course of its colourful mining history, of which only one is still used for maintenance work. The entire site belongs to a lawyer family from Munich; entering the tunnels is prohibited without exception because of the risk of falling rocks

    Over the millennia, the emeralds have become scattered in the slip rock due to erosion. With a certain level of patience they can be found next to or above the Alpenrose inn in the Habachtal valley with relatively little danger involved.

  • Anna Selbdritt from Swabia

    The first sculpture of St. Anne with the Virgin and Child on display in the Mining and Gothic Museum in Leogang is on private loan and comes from the workshop of Michael Zeynsler from Biberach an der Riss in Swabia.

    The figure was created around 1520 in lime wood. It was probably part of the decorative, carved superstructure of a small winged altarpiece. This can be seen by the rounded finish and the fact that no gold was used.

    A series of ‘Anna Selbdritt´ works by Michael Zeynsler - who is thought to have been employed under master craftsman Hans Herlin in Memmingen before his time in Biberach - have survived. Since the folds in St. Anne’s mantle here were not yet fashioned in the ‘parallel fold’ style, this depiction can be categorised as one of the master craftsman’s early works.

  • Georgius Agricola

    Georgius Agricola (Latin for ‘Georg Bauer’) was a German doctor, pharmacist and scientist who is regarded as the ‘father of minerology’ and founder of modern geology and mining engineering. His main work De re metallica libri XII, ‘12 books on mining’, appeared for the first time in Latin in 1556, a year after his death, in Basel.

    Agricola’s work is the result of his travels through the mining regions of the Saxon and Bohemian Ore Mountains and demonstrates a systematic, technological investigation of mining and trade associations. Decorated with woodcuts, the entire mining knowledge of the day was compiled by the author, who in doing so became the founder of mountain scholarship. For two hundred years, Agricola’s books remained the decisive work on the subject.

    Later, the famous mining book was translated into many different languages. Philippus Bechius (1521-1560), a friend of Agricola and a professor at the University of Basel, translated the manuscript into German and published it in 1557 under the title Vom Bergkwerck XII Bücher.

    The cabinet of mountain curiosities at the Leogang Mining and Gothic Museum has three different editions of the famous work on display: the second Latin edition from 1561, the second German edition from 1580 and the first English edition from 1912, also called De re metallica.

    The first English translation was published by Herbert Clark and Lou Henry Hoover, a married couple, who added commentary and footnotes. Herbert Clark Hoover was not only a trained mining engineer and successful entrepreneur, but the 31st president of the United States of America from 1929 to 1933.

    The three editions of Georgius Agricola’s work on show at the Mining and Gothic Museum come from Achim and Beate Middelschulte’s famous private collection of mountain art in Essen.

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