History and Georg August Goldfuß

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Manuel Kunz
The founder and namesake of the museum is Georg August Goldfuß (1782 - 1848), who was one of the most important German palaeontologists. In Berlin, he first studied surgery and pharmacology at the Collegium medico-chirurgicum, the precursor of the Charité, as well as zoology and natural history under the botanist Carl Ludwig Willdenow.
In Erlangen he received his doctorate in medicine in 1804 with a thesis on South African beetles. He worked there as a lecturer until the almost complete cessation of university activities in 1806 as a result of the occupation by Napoleonic France.

When the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn was founded in 1818, Goldfuß and other professors from Erlangen were appointed to Bonn. Goldfuß lobbied for the natural science institutes to be moved to Poppelsdorf Palace. He was rector of the university from 1839 to 1840 and director of the Natural History Museum until his death in 1848.

In 1882, the museum was divided into a zoological, mineralogical and palaeontological museum, each with its own director, and the palaeontological museum and institute were moved to the main building of the university. In 1911, the building at Nussallee 8(01.3) was inaugurated as the Geological-Palaeontological Institute. Prof. Dr. Gustav Steinmann, German palaeontologist and geologist, became the first director of the newly founded institute and had the entire mezzanine floor of the building at Nussallee 8 set up as a museum. For a long time, it was only open to the public by appointment.

© Manuel Kunz
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