Past Holidays 2014

Christmas Holidays
27 December 2014 – 4 January 2015
(closed on 31 December and 1 January)

The Christmas Holidays' Programme takes place in the Mineralogical Collection Germany in the Krügerhaus.

Salt makes magical crystals

Between the holidays, everything is sparkling and glittering at Krügerhaus, which is situated beside the castle: During the holiday programme, we will be investigating salt crystals. In the Middle Ages, salt was traded as “white gold” because it was so valuable. Today, this mineral is mined en masse with the latest technology, especially here in Germany, and it is sold all over the world. But what secrets are hidden behind those little white crystals that we sprinkle out of the salt cellar every day? Mineralogists refer to it as “halite” and, as you will see at the Mineralogical Exhibition Germany at Krügerhaus, it occurs in various colours in nature. Here, visitors, both young and not so young, can also discover why these small crystals have the power to melt ice or why salt is vitally important to mankind but can also kill us. Experiments will show which salts exist outside of the kitchen, and what they look like. Besides all of this, visitors can also try their hand at extracting salt from brine.

The holiday programme takes place from 10 am till 5 pm daily at the Mineralogical Exhibition Germany at Krügerhaus. The cash desk is at Freudenstein Castle. Entry fees are EUR 6 for adults and EUR 3 for children. Childcare groups are requested to register in advance. For further information, contact the Info Desk on 03731 394654 or at

Autumn Holidays
18 October – 2 November 2014

"Globi and the smallest master builders in the world"

Almost everyone is familiar with the pretty houses of snails and seashells, but there are many more capable architects like these. They have fantastic names such as foraminifera, radiolaria and diatoms. These tiny creatures, some of which are hardly visible to the naked eye, build their crazy houses out of minerals, just like the snails do. They use calcite, for example, and sometimes even opal. During the autumn holidays, our little visitors will find out how this happens on a rally from one end of the exhibition right through to the other.

Whilst sifting sand at the special exhibition, the children will not find gold nuggets, but rather the decorative creations of the forams: These include castle towers, UFOs, spiked balls, teardrops, stars and other fabulous shapes. One example is the tiny spiked ball foram, "Globi". It will show the little visitors how forams live and how old they are. With the aid of 3D images and colourful models, one can take a look right into the most secret chambers of these tiny creatures. Besides this, one can also watch their building material, calcite, growing and test how robust such a calcite house is.

Then, the visitors will take off on a global journey with Globi: With the children, she will visit her master builder friends on the four continents and show them which other minerals are also found in forams. At the end of this little treasure hunt, the "journey of discovery" awaits the children, with even more experiments and activities. There will be much dusty activity in the fossil workshop and the children will also have the opportunity to see sparkling crystals growing in seashells. There is lots of fun to be had in the "time aquarium", and it will be a bit scary in the artists' workshop: Here, the children will paint with the dead! As proof of who was brave enough to participate, all the pictures will be posted on the terra mineralia homepage after the holidays. What! Painting with the dead isn't crazy enough? The "journey of discovery" will also show the visitors where the skilful radiolaria and diatoms occur in everyday life! You are guaranteed to see your next glass of banana juice in a different light thereafter. As a keepsake, the children can take their favourite master builder home with them in the form of a self-made fossil.

The holiday programme is available every day from 10h00 till 17h00. Registration is required in the case of larger groups of children. Entry fees are EUR 10 for adults and EUR 5 for children (incl. special exhibition). Further information is available from the Info Desk (Mon - Thur) on 03731 394654 or at

Drawing competition 18 October 2014

Drawing competition 19 October 2014

Drawing competition 20 October 2014

Drawing competition 21 October 2014

Drawing competition 22 October 2014

Drawing competition 23 October 2014

Drawing competition 24 October 2014

Drawing competition 25 October 2014

Drawing competition 26 October 2014

Drawing competition 27 October 2014

Drawing competition 28 October 2014

Drawing competition 29 October 2014

Drawing competition 30 October 2014

Drawing competition 31 October 2014

Drawing competition 1 November 2014

Drawing competition 2 November 2014

Summer Holidays
19 July – 31 August 2014, Thursday - Sunday

Hand axe, paint, TV: Minerals from the stone-age until now

As hand axes, in paint or in TVs – ever since mankind began to roam the earth we have been making use of minerals in our daily lives. This programme gives the visitors the opportunity to identify connections between minerals and important discoveries, inventions and areas of use.

In the Stone Age, minerals and rocks were already essential for the survival of man. Minerals were not only a fire-making aid; they also served as tools. Hand-axes were hewn out of the extremely hard mineral chalcedony and then used to prepare animal skins. The minerals pyrite and goethite – named after the famous German poet – were very early sources of iron. Tools and containers were made of iron, as were weapons (spearheads, dagger blades). Malachite was also important thousands of years ago, because it was the first copper ore used by man. It was used as a paint pigment in Egyptian wall paintings and as a form of jewellery back then, as it is today. But minerals are also used in medicine. Even in ancient times, people made use of the healing properties of minerals. Eye disorders were treated with ground antimonite in the form of cosmetic powder. Thanks to technological progress, the processing methods were improved over the years: Fluorite splits the light spectrum evenly and this property is utilised in the production of lenses for telescopes and microscopes. Mankind also makes use of the fluorescent properties of fluorite and other minerals, which cause neon paint to glow.

Each of the exhibition halls at terra mineralia is allocated to a different age in which important discoveries and inventions were made. Visitors can search for the minerals that were instrumental in each case. In addition, there is a little mystery to solve in each hall. In the “Voyage of Discovery”, children and adults learn how our forefathers made paint from pigments and can try it out for themselves. Knowledge of “Use according to Mineral” is imparted in a playful manner. For example, what does an eye test have to do with minerals? Experiments are performed live to demonstrate how silver and copper are mined. In the kids’ corner in the loft, young visitors can guess which mineral is which in a memory game.

The holiday programme runs from Thu – Fri, from 10:00 am – 5 pm, and on weekends from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. We request that child-care and crèche groups register in advance. For further information, contact the information desk: +49 (0)3731 39-4654 or Entrance fees are EUR 8 for adults and EUR 4 for children. A family ticket costs EUR 18.

Ascension Day 29 May – 1 June 2014
Pentecost 7 – 9 June 2014

International Year of Crystallography – Crystal tour and workshop for the whole family

For the first time, terra mineralia is offering an adult programme to accompany the children’s programme. While the little ones are on a crystal tour with lots of experiments, the grown-ups can participate in a crystal workshop. At the German Mineralogical Collection at Krügerhaus, more than 700 crystals are on display in a Crystal Gallery. Some of these are very rare specimens with very special growth forms.

Knowledge from the world of crystallography is part of everyday life. Crystals are found in mobile phones, detergent softeners, table salt, sugar and chocolate. Crystals can be grown or they form naturally by themselves in the form of minerals. The participants in both programmes will learn the answers to questions such as: What is a crystal? How does it grow? What shapes can it develop? And what can one do with them? 

Details of the programme:

Crystal tour for children:

  • A guided tour in the company of students of the Mining Academy, Freiberg. At four stations along the route, the children will stop and learn all about crystals – they can try things out and experiment under the watchful guidance of the students.
  • Station 1: What is a crystal? Where are crystals found? Crystals in chocolate and as snowflakes.
  • Station 2: What shapes can crystals have? Get to know crystal systems in a playful manner, handle minerals such as calcite and corresponding models of the crystals.
  • Station 3: How does a crystal grow? Observe the “birth” of a crystal, for example, with table salt. The children can also watch “crystal hedgehogs” growing. With the aid of enlarged overhead projector images, the children will be able to see in fine detail exactly how the growth of crystals occurs.
  • Station 4: How does the colour get into the crystal? Colours in crystals can arise in various ways. Flaws in the growth of the crystal can, for example, not only cause interesting growth deviations, but also the occurrence of specific colours.
  • Handicraft station: Here, models of crystals can be made out of paper.

Crystal workshop for adults:

  • A short tour to the “Curiosity Cabinet” with students of the Mining Academy, Freiberg, in which unusual-looking or particularly attractive crystals from Germany can be seen.
  • Thereafter, the workshop will take place in the auditorium.
  • The first session of the workshop deals with the growth of crystals. The students explain what crystals are and how they grow.
  • Thereafter, in pairs, the visitors find out why the “curious” minerals have such a strange appearance. Afterwards, they have the opportunity to share their findings with the other participants in a plenum.
  • In the second session of the workshop, we will deal with the use of crystals for mankind. Using quasicrystals and liquid crystals as an example, our students and tour guides will explain the modern uses of crystallography.
  • Thereafter, the visitors will once again break up into pairs to have a look at the properties of minerals and other objects. They will have the opportunity to elicit the properties that characterise the object or mineral by means of small experiments and consideration of the facts. At the end, similar to the game, “Memory”, the minerals will be allocated to the various applications, based on their properties.

2014 is the International Year of Crystallography, as it is the 100th anniversary of the birth of this science. Exactly 100 years ago, the German physicist, Max von Laue, won the Nobel Prize for his work with crystals. In 1912, von Laue discovered the curving of X-rays in crystals. This proved that X-rays radiate in waves. Besides this, the structure of the crystal could also be determined for the first time, by means of the curve patterns.

Start 10 am, 12 am, 2 pm and 4 pm Duration 2 hours Prices Children EUR 3, Adults EUR 6 Venue German Mineralogical Collection, Krügerhaus, Schloßplatz 3; Cash desk at terra mineralia, Schloss Freudenstein (100m footpath); Children’s groups are required to register. For further information, please contact the Information Desk on 03731 394654 or at

Easter Holidays
18 – 27 April 2014

Our earth is alive!

Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes that originate deep inside the earth as a result of the movement of the tectonic plates provide evidence that the earth is alive. On the surface of the earth, there are more traces of life that have been caused by weathering. Heat, cold, ice, wind and water leave behind tracks on rocks and minerals. The face of the earth is changing constantly. 

Guided by an overview map with a hall route and photos of minerals, the children take off in search of minerals at terra mineralia in order to find out what rocks they occur in. Small labels in the exhibition cases indicate the minerals that the children are looking for. For orientation, the boys and girls follow think cracks in the floor as they make their way through the four halls, America, Asia, Africa and Europe, before they finally end up in the “Voyage of Discovery” – the scientific centre of the exhibition. Here, three thematic stations invite the young visitors to participate actively and to experiment for themselves under the watchful eyes of students of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg.  

As they try things out in a playful manner, the young visitors learn what the thin cracks in the hall are all about and why the earth is constantly moving. They have the opportunity to see how earthquakes are made visible by a seismograph. This instrument runs 24 hours a day during the school holiday period, recording tremors. Besides this, the children also learn, by means of experiments that they perform themselves, what effects volcanic eruptions and weathering have on rock. Just like real geologists, they can investigate where rock is formed and, by examining them under a microscope, they can see that rocks are made up of many minerals. Even tiny diamonds become visible. Afterwards, the children can determine the origin of a profile (rock sequence) and the age of the rock with the information they have gathered.

In the foyer of the terra mineralia, visitors both old and young can polish minerals themselves under the professional guidance of Uwe Thonfeld from Geyer. Prices: EUR 0.50 for child care groups; EUR 2.50 for visitors to the terra mineralia; EUR 4.00 for visitors without a terra mineralia ticket.

The Easter holiday programme is offered from 10 am till 5 pm from Tuesday until Friday and till 6 pm during the weekend and on Easter holidays. In the case of children’s and child care groups, please register in advance. Further information is available from the Info Desk on 03731 394654 or at

Winter Holidays
15 February – 2 March 2014, 10am – 5pm

The elements – building blocks of our minerals

All minerals are made up of one, two, three or more elements. Like building blocks they assemble to form the minerals, thereby creating the great variety of the sparkling treasures. Children and adults can take off on an expedition between 10 am and 5 pm every day.

During a tour through the mineral exhibition, both young and older visitors get to know the first elements. About twenty of them are hiding away and are waiting to be discovered. They are not hiding just anywhere! Their hiding places are somewhere close to the mineral they belong to. For example, the carbon can be found with the diamond because the precious gemstone consists entirely of this element. Calcium can be found with a white calcite and cobalt with the deep red erythrite. Calcite even bears the name of the main element!

But where do the elements come from? This is the question that will preoccupy the girls and boys on their “research expedition” – the scientific centre of the exhibition – as they travel back in time to the “big bang” that marked the beginning of the universe. On the way, they will find out how many elements there are and that most of them were only discovered within the last 200 years. Especially for this programme, terra mineralia has developed a descriptive, child-friendly period system, in which the most important use of each element is attributed to it.

A large puzzle shows the young researchers what elements their bodies are made of and how common specific elements are on earth. The knowledge of the elements is a basic requirement for every mineralogist as it helps to identify, analyse and sort the minerals. Funny characters like “Oxide Otto” and “Silicon Silke” help the children understand the complicated processes involved in the formation of minerals. For example, if the two characters take one another by the hand, they form the mineral quartz. In this way, the children can put together various minerals themselves. Another experiment shows how some minerals get their wonderful colours from the elements.

The terra mineralia’s winter holiday programme, “The elements – building blocks of our minerals”, takes place between 10 am and 5 pm daily, and lasts around one and a half hours. Children’s and kindergarten groups are requested to register. For further information, please contact the Info Desk on telephone 03731 394654 or by email at

Winners of the Foraminifera Drawing Competition (Autumn Holidays 2014)

School children of the Georgius Agricola Elementary School appointed the winners of our drawing competition unanimously.

Winners of the first holiday week.

Winners of the second holiday week.