Your Visit

The museum is open and we are looking forward to your visit. From Sunday April 3rd you only need an medical mask for your visit.



Special Exhibition

Behind Walls

Photography in Swiss Psychiatric Institutions 1880–1935

24 March to 31 July 2022

Many hospital archives preserve a treasure trove of historical photographs and glass slides from around 1900, when these institutions were being professionalized, modernized and restructured. It was usually the psychiatrists themselves behind the camera. The photos “materialize” the doctor’s view of the institution and its surroundings, of the patients, and of everyday work, but also of leisure time and parties, and of the nursing staff. Psychiatrists used photographs in lectures, and provided medical publications with a wealth of illustrative material. Photographs were used effectively in public relations or for entertainment purposes. The photographic medium (and soon also that of film) seems to have virtually given wings to psychiatry. Read more...

100 Years Artistry of the Mentally Ill

100 years ago, Hans Prinzhorn published his study Artistry of the Mentally Ill. A Contribution to the Psychology and Psychopathology of Configuration. In the book, he evaluated the teaching media collection of art created in psychiatric institutions, which we now call the “Prinzhorn Collection,” and which he had compiled during his time as an assistant physician at the Heidelberg psychiatric clinic from 1919 to 1921. In contrast to what was expected by experts, he claimed the paintings had no diagnostic value, and instead focused on the aesthetic qualities of the works. Idealizing the patients’ works as an expression of unadulterated, primal creativity, the psychiatrist and art historian struck a nerve of his time. The book met with great interest among artists and art enthusiasts, and brought renown to the collection, reaching far beyond the borders of Germany. In 2022, we will continue Prinzhorn’s work and focus on two artists in the collection for whom Prinzhorn planned, but never realized, individual publications: Else Blankenhorn and Heinrich Mebes. And we will present current research on Hans Prinzhorn in a symposium. In addition, in order to visualize the resonance of the book, we are publishing a video series with voices from psychiatrists, art historians, and many others. Read more...

We look forward to celebrating this anniversary with you!


At the Haus am Wehrsteg, the Prinzhorn Collection meets comics and public space

The Haus am Wehrsteg and the Prinzhorn Collection have invited comic strip artists to take an artistic stance on works and artists from the Prinzhorn Collection. The resulting works are printed on tarpaulin in a large format of 6.5 x 4.5 metres and exhibited at the tower of the Künstlerhaus Haus am Wehrsteg, and thus in Heidelberg's public space, in monthly rotation from January to June 2022. The participating artists (Anke Feuchtenberger, Anna Haifisch, Wolfgang Klee, Lucie Langston, Mawil, and Henning Wagenbreth) represent current artistic developments in the field of comic strips and graphic novels in Germany.


Image: © Haus am Wehrsteg

Introduction to the Prinzhorn Collection

Our new guide to the Prinzhorn Collection is finally available in English! "Introduction to the Prinzhorn Collection" provides insights into this unique collection by presenting various related topics, such as surrealism, the use of special materials, medical crimes, or mediumistic art, and illustrating each topic with a work or an artist from our collection. The book can be purchased in the museum shop, or ordered by e-mail to or by phone at +49 (0)6221 / 56-44 92 (plus shipping).

Published and edited by Ingrid von Beyme and Thomas Röske, Heidelberg 2021, 80 pages, €15,00






Prinzhorn Collection
Voßstrasse 2
69115 Heidelberg

Phone: (+49) 06221/56 4492
Fax: (+49) 06221/56 1723