The Museum for Sepulchral Culture has existed since 1992 and is dedicated to the issues of dying, death, burial, mourning and remembrance. By providing information, advice and mediation in a varied programme of exhibitions and events, it is possible to initiate discourses that on the one hand accompany the change in sepulchral culture in a lively manner and on the other hand offer the opportunity for a conscious examination of one's own finiteness.

The central tasks of the Museum for Sepulchral Culture and the associated Central Institute are to research, promote and communicate the cultural heritage in the areas of burial, cemetery and monument conservation. They inform the public about the social consensus – but also about legitimate conflicts – on how to deal with dying, death and mourning, and illustrate the cultural-historical background and changes associated with this. The foundation of the museum is the sepulchral culture that has developed in the German-speaking world. Objects from the 15th century to the present day show how burials were held in Germany, how the dying was accompanied and how the deceased was remembered. Social changes, which in turn have an impact on the local burial culture, are also taken into account.

The maintenance, preservation, research and communication of German burial and cemetery culture make up a significant part of the work of the museum, the Central Institute and the sponsoring association. Not least because of these activities, cemetery culture in Germany was inscribed on UNESCO's national list of intangible cultural heritage on March 13, 2020. The federal government, the state of Hesse and the city of Kassel recognize this valuable work and its national significance and support the new conception through financial funding.

The redesign will further strengthen this cultural heritage through the expansion of the cultural education and mediation offer and the reorientation of the permanent exhibition. Among other things, a new focus will be placed on the permanent exhibition, which currently takes a back seat to the changing special exhibitions. The permanent exhibition plays a key role in familiarizing the public with the history, significance and development of sepulchral culture in Germany. Even more: The redesign takes particular account of the changes and diversification of society. It contributes to an overall societal understanding of a common sepulchral culture and thus also promotes the inclusion of citizens of different origins and world views.

As things stand, the museum will be temporarily closed for this purpose from the year 2025 in order to carry out the conversion work. However, it will not be completely inaccessible, as the team plans to transfer its events and exhibitions to other spaces within Kassel's city center. This will also provide an opportunity to encounter the museum's issues in a completely new location.

The reopening is then expected to take place in 2027.

Since the entire project is still in the planning stage, all progress and dates will be posted here in the future.

"In order to give the museum with its topic the opportunity to really have an impact on society, it should become an even stronger meeting place than it already is"

Director Dr. Dirk Pörschmann



Scientific Advisory Board

In order to meet the constant changes in cemetery and burial culture and the resulting changing demands of museum visitors on the mediation work in our institution, it became urgently necessary to update the permanent exhibition of the Museum for Sepulchral Culture. For this purpose, a temporary "Scientific Advisory Board for the Redesign of the Permanent Exhibition of the Museum for Sepulchral Culture" was founded for the first time in 2017.

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Dr. Dirk Pörschmann

Position: Managing Director of Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V. and Director of Museum and Central Institute for Sepulchral Culture

Telefon: 0561 / 918 93 40

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Gerold Eppler M.A.

Position: Deputy Director, Museum Education

Telefon: 0561 / 918 93 23

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Dr.-Ing. Dagmar Kuhle

Position: Advice for cemetery owners and administrators, organisation and implementation of further trainings

Telefon: 0561 / 918 93 24

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Jutta Lange

Position: Press and Public Relations, Museum Marketing, Editing

Telefon: 0561 / 918 93 28

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Dr. Friedrich Block

Position: Managing Curator of the Brückner-Kühner Foundation Kassel

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Dr. Gisela Bungarten

Position: Projektmanagerin der Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel

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Stephan Hadraschek M.A.

Position: mortician; network manager, public relations and expert advice at ASV Deutschland GmbH, historian

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Dr. Michael Henker

Position: Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Sudetendeutschenstiftung and the Sudetendeutsches Museum in Munich

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Dr. Dr. Dirk Preuß

Position: AG Applied Ethics in Veterinary Medicine Hannover, and Catholic Theologian, University of Göttingen

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Christina Reinsch

Position: Director of the Hessischer Museumsverband e. V.

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PD Dr. med. Jörg-Stefan Schulz

Position: Curator of the Medical History Collection of the Ruhr University Bochum

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Dr. Anja Schöne

Position: Director of the RELIGIO Westphalian Museum

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Dr. Guus Sluiter

Position: Director of the Museum Tot Zover, Amsterdam

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26. September 2022

12 architectural competition entries for the redesign of the Museum for Sepulchral Culture

The opening and award ceremony will take place on Thursday, October 20 at 3:00 p.m. at the Museum for Sepulchral Culture. In addition to representatives of the jury, the architectural office Schulze Schulze Berger from Kassel, the first prize winner, and Osterwold°Schmidt from Weimar, the second prize winner, will be present.

Kassel office wins architectural competition for Museum for Sepulchral Culture

The first prize in the competition for the new conception, renovation and expansion of the Museum for Sepulchral Culture (MSK) in Kassel goes to the office Schulze Schulze Berger. This and two other prize winners were selected by the jury chaired by Prof. Zvonko Turkali. The funds for the preliminary planning are provided by the state of Hesse (759,000 euros) and the city of Kassel (50,000 euros).

"The Museum for Sepulchral Culture does very special work on a sensitive topic that we often block out of our lives, illuminating death and how we deal with it from different perspectives," explains Angela Dorn, Hesse's Minister for Science and the Arts. "With the planned expansion, the museum will have the opportunity to design even more attractive offerings for visitors. And the planning perspective strengthens – and this particularly pleases me as Minister for Arts and Science – the research work of the Institute. Since the protection of historical monuments also falls under my department, I would also like to emphasize the careful as well as conscious handling of the listed inventory and the creative emphasis on historical references of the winning design."

"The Museum for Sepulchral Culture deals with the themes of death and dying and their social discourses, cultural and historical dimensions, and personal issues in a way that is both approachable and innovative," adds Dr. Susanne Völker, head of the Cultural Department of the City of Kassel. "The renovation opens up contemporary possibilities for the further development of exhibitions, research and outreach in a museum that is as exceptional as it is relevant in its thematic focus."

"For our unique institution, the result of the competition is a major step towards leading our house into the future and further strengthening the regional and national significance of the Museum and Central Institute for Sepulchral Culture. This will enable us to continue working on a contemporary awareness of finitude in a socially relevant way," says Dr. Dirk Pörschmann, Director of the Museum.

Commenting on the competition process, the chairman of the jury, Prof. Zvonko Turkali, adds: "The entries submitted are all of a very high quality. The work awarded first prize provides an excellent basis for the careful renovation of the existing building and its clear functional upgrading. The planned structural measures create spatial situations that make the museum an attractive and at the same time distinctive place."

Opened in 1992, the Museum consists of the listed remise of the former villa of the industrialist Henschel family from 1903/1904 and an associated new building by architect Wilhelm Kücker (Munich). Three decades after its opening, the building and museum are in need of fundamental renovation, comprehensive technical upgrading and reorganization. The competition task focused on the structural and spatial tasks in both parts of the building. The focus of the restructuring is on the listed remise with a new event area, conference and seminar rooms, library, reception with museum store and administrative rooms. In the new building, the indoor climate situation is to be improved and a functional upgrading of the building in aesthetic harmony with the old building is to be made possible.

The first prize was awarded to the Schulze Berger Architects City Planners BDA PartG mbB from Kassel for their proposal to build a multifunctional room over the terrace in the style of the historical situation, which can be used for all types of events or can also be added to the café. It offers visitors a view of Kassel's southern city and the Fulda floodplain. The historic gateway will be reactivated as an entrance and will lead into the inner courtyard, which in the future will be free of fixtures and roofing and will allow visitors to experience the historic structure of the Remisen building again. Here, groups of visitors can gather and prepare for their visit to the museum or guests can stop to visit the café or the museum store. In the jury's view, this work does a particularly good job of ensuring that the event area can be used independently of museum operations.

The 2nd prize went to Osterwold+Schmidt architects from Weimar for the idea of completely building over the inner courtyard with a multi-storey wooden structure that accommodates the required space program. By compressing the structural addition above the current inner courtyard, the addition of a new roof can be reduced to a minimum and a generous roof terrace with an impressive distant view can be offered. The roof addition is thereby limited to the multifunctional area exposed in the center. The gateway becomes the main entrance, leading visitors to a spacious foyer on the site of the current courtyard.

The 3rd prize was won by the office of Peter Zirkel Architekten from Dresden, who strengthened the connection between the old and new buildings with a large-scale opening of the historic east facade of the remise – which became an interior wall due to the new museum building by Wilhelm Kücker. For this purpose, the current access system in the so-called joint between the building parts will be completely changed. The newly created inner axis is intended to bring light and air into the overall ensemble and enable new spatial experiences, while accepting considerable interventions in the historic building fabric.

The competition was announced as a restricted realization competition in an anonymous procedure with a preliminary application procedure. A total of twelve offices from Germany and abroad took part. The jury was supported by a large number of experts from the fields of monument preservation, culture and museums, the specialist departments of the city of Kassel, the federal, state and city funding agencies and the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V. (Study Group Cemetery and Monument). The competition was organized by the ANP office from Kassel.


1st Price
1st Price
Schulze Berger Architekten Stadtplaner BDA PartG mbB
© Museum für Sepulkralkultur, Kassel, Bildarchiv
2nd Price
2nd Price
Osterwold+Schmidt-Architekten, Weimar
© Museum für Sepulkralkultur, Kassel, Bildarchiv
3rd Price
3rd Price
Büro Peter Zirkel Architekten, Dresden
© Museum für Sepulkralkultur, Kassel, Bildarchiv


7 Million for Redesign and Refurbishment

29th November 2019

Implementation of the "Vision for the Future" is approaching:

The German Parliament provides the Museum for Sepulchral Culture Kassel with 7 million euros

The Museum for Sepulchral Culture in Kassel, which opened in 1992, receives 50 percent of the investment costs (total costs 14 million euros) from federal funds, which are necessary for the new concept of the permanent exhibition, energy-saving renovation and expansion of the functional areas. The funds are provided from the budget of the Commissioner for Culture and Media, Minister of State Prof. Monika Grütters.

Prof. Monika Grütters: "The Museum for Sepulchral Culture lives from its unusual issue. It has thus developed into an extraordinary place of culture and remembrance and impressively proves that the themes of dying, death, mourning and burial are an integral part of our culture. With this elementary topic, the museum appeals to all of us without distinction. When it comes to the great question of the beginning and end of life, to thoughtfulness, contemplation and transcendence, it always touches its visitors deeply. Because of the importance of this theme, the Confederation is happy to participate in the renovation of the museum."

The Museum for Sepulchral Culture has existed as a cultural institution of national importance since 1992 and was affiliated to the Central Institute for Sepulchral Culture, which was founded in 1979. The museum focuses on the topic of funeral culture and illustrates continuities and breaks in dealing with dying, death, burial, mourning and remembrance. Architecturally, the museum consists of the historical existing building – the former shed of the Henschel villas (1903/1904) – and the adjoining new museum building, which combines both units into a significant ensemble in terms of urban development.

After almost three decades of operation, this unique museum needs a new concept for its permanent exhibition that reflects the current state of social discourse and scientific research. In addition, a fundamental renovation is required, and in particular an elementary improvement of the air conditioning and ventilation technology to meet the energy and conservation requirements of contemporary museum operations.

Director Dr. Dirk Pörschmann: "The fact that our museum is now receiving financial support for the urgently needed updates to the permanent exhibition and the renovation and extension work is a great fortune and a credit to the whole team. In many years of creative and constant work, the Museum for Sepulchral Culture has established itself as a unique institution nationwide. We work for society by bringing the themes of dying, death, burial and mourning into people's consciousness in a variety of ways."

The new conception of the content conveys the multifaceted relationship between man and death. This is illustrated in particular against the background of demographic development and migration movements by current multicultural, ethical, sociological, medical, socio-psychological, theological and scientific aspects in dealing with dying and death.

Kassel's SPD member of the German Parliament Timon Gremmels and Kassel's Lord Mayor Christian Geselle did not miss the opportunity to attend the opening evening of the exhibition "LAMENTO. Trauer und Tränen" (15.11.2019) to share with the assembled audience their great joy about the approval of federal funding. In addition, budget funds have already been promised by the City of Kassel. Susanne Völker, head of the Department of Culture, emphasized: "The Museum for Sepulchral Culture occupies a special position in the German museum landscape. With its focus on content, the museum touches on central aspects of human existence, which are often given little space in our modern society. Since its foundation 27 years ago, the museum has continually opened up innovative, informative and life-affirming perspectives through a wide range of exhibitions and events. I am pleased that the Museum for Sepulchral Culture is now being given a perspective for modernization and contemporary development".

Negotiations are currently taking place with the museum's institutional sponsor, the State of Hesse, in order to have planning security soon. Eva Kühne-Hörmann, Hesse's Minister of Justice and Kassel CDU chairwoman, said that the museum is, in addition to the documenta, "another cultural institution unique in Germany", which has its headquarters in Kassel. From 2017 to 2018, the Protestant Church of Germany (EKD) and the Association of German Dioceses (VDD) had provided financial support for the development of the "Vision for the Future" which is now available. The Museum for Sepulchral Culture hopes to receive further support from the two Christian churches in the area of the costs of setting up the updated permanent exhibition, as well as from a wide range of sponsors and donors, in order to be able to raise the necessary own contribution.

Museum Director Dr. Dirk Pörschmann, Kassel SPD Member of the German parliament Timon Gremmels and Kassel Mayor Christian Geselle announce the news on the opening evening of the special exhibition LAMENTO. Mourning and Tears.
Museum Director Dr. Dirk Pörschmann, Kassel SPD Member of the German parliament Timon Gremmels and Kassel Mayor Christian Geselle announce the news on the opening evening of the special exhibition LAMENTO. Mourning and Tears.
Photo: Maja Wirkus
© Museum für Sepulkralkultur, Kassel, Bildarchiv

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Habe Museum, suche Räume!

Das Museum für Sepulkralkultur braucht ein Interim

Wir halten Sie an dieser Stelle über unsere Präsenz ab Baubeginn auf dem Laufenden!

Da neben der Verwaltung und den Lagerflächen auch die gesamte Ausstellungsfläche temporär geräumt werden muss, möchte das Museum zwischen Anfang 2025 und Herbst 2027 Interimsräume im Kasseler Innenstadtbereich bespielen.

Diese Maßnahme ist von großer Bedeutung für das weltweit einmalige Museum für Sepulkralkultur. Es soll die permanente Verfügbarkeit für Interessierte und nicht zuletzt seine Sichtbarkeit in der Gesellschaft aufrechterhalten.


Für den Zeitraum der Auslagerung strebt das Museum eine Fläche an, die über folgende Kriterien verfügen sollte:
Gute Sichtbarkeit in der Kasseler Innenstadt

  • Fläche von ca. 200m²
  • Nutzbarkeit für Veranstaltungen
  • Anliefermöglichkeit
  • Geeignete Sanitäranlagen
  • Geeignetes Sicherheitslevel zum Schutz von technischem Equipment und Exponaten
    (Alarmanlage nicht zwingend, Abschließbarkeit zwingend)

Für den Ausstellungs- und Veranstaltungsbesuch würden keine Eintrittsgelder erhoben werden, daher ist ein Kassenbereich nicht nötig.


Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e. V.

Telefon: 0 561 / 918 93 0

Fax: 0 561 / 918 93 10

Weinbergstraße 25-27
34117 Kassel

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Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V.

Zentralinstitut für Sepulkralkultur

Museum für Sepulkralkultur

Weinbergstraße 25–27
D-34117 Kassel | Germany
Tel. +49 (0)561 918 93-0

Die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien
Hessisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst
Kassel Documenta Stadt
Deutsche Bischofskonferenz