The Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon was founded under August the Strong in 1728 and remains today one of the world’s most important museums of historical scientific instruments. It is the oldest museum in the famous Baroque complex of the Dresden Zwinger and now has a completely redesigned exhibition showing an array of devices used over past centuries for measuring the world.
Visitors can see and discover highly polished burning mirrors, refined timepieces and me-chanical devices, monumental telescopes, astronomical models, and historic globes featuring the Earth, the Heavens, and even the Moon and Mars: a delight to behold not only on account of their function but also of their beauty. An extensive collection of important works of art from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, almost all of which were designed to gather or create knowledge, makes the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon a museum without parallel. As a site of research it has played a role in the Zwinger's international reputation and influence for nearly three centuries. In the late eighteenth century an astronomical observatory was set up within the Salon. For 150 years the local time for Dresden was established here – making the institution in the Dresden Zwinger rather like the ‘Greenwich of Saxony.’
The new presentation in the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon allows the objects on display to be seen at such close proximity that not even the tiniest engraving or decoration goes unrevealed. Specially commissioned films and animations provide insight into the inner workings and functioning of selected pieces. Here visitors can use the oldest mechanical calculator in Germany and take part in demonstrations of historical experiments with precisely replicated instruments. Along with workshops and guided tours, these demonstrations will provide exciting insights into the historical context of mathematics, the natural sciences, and technology, true to the motto of the Mathema-tisch-Physikalischer Salon being a place of learning for the curious of all ages.