Gernot Krankenhagen

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Gernot Krankenhagen 2018

Gernot Krankenhagen (born December 8, 1941 in Vienna ) is the founding director of the Museum of Labor in Hamburg . He headed the museum from 1997 to 2004.


Gernot Krankenhagen is the son of the graduate engineer Hagen Krankenhagen, who was born in Canada , grew up in the USA and came to Germany in 1930. Prinzhorn, who comes from a family of Austrian papermakers . In his childhood he lived in different places in Austria , as the family had fled from the approaching Soviet troops towards the end of the war . In 1949 his father took over a small machine factory in Regensburg , where Krankenhagen spent his youth. In 1961 he passed the Abitur at a humanistic grammar school. Then Krankenhagen does his military service with the mountain troops .

He started his studies in the autumn of 1962 at the Technical University of Munich and continued it from 1965 at the Technical University of Berlin , specializing in energy technology / heating , ventilation , air conditioning ; Degree in engineering .

He began his professional career in February 1969 at the secretariat of the Conference of Ministers of Education . For more than two years he was directly assigned to Secretary General Kurt Frey . From 1971 he worked at the Institute for Film and Image in Science and Education (FWU), the German School Film Institute in Munich. There he created a series of books on audiovisual education and was also the chairman of the works council for a period . In 1977 he moved to the Deutsches Museum in Munich and was responsible for the development of a series of books on the history of technology ( dtv Verlagsgesellschaft ) and for setting up a project to train company trainers in the field of technology history. In 1980 he moved to Dortmund to join the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and Accident Research . There he built the "Permanent Exhibition for Occupational Safety" .

In 1981 he got in touch with the people who were planning to set up a museum of work in Hamburg. In 1981 he took part in an international conference there, where concepts were discussed. In 1983 he applied for one of the two scientific positions and began working for the Museum of Work project in May 1984, the future of which was still completely open at the time. With a lot of vigor and stamina, he and the small group of employees developed ideas and concepts in various forms for the planned museum in the 80s and fought for them in the political bodies. In 1989 the Senate decided to found the Museum of Labor as the seventh state museum in Hamburg. Construction began in 1991 and the exhibitions were prepared. The museum opened on January 6, 1997. From January 1, 1990 to December 31, 2003 (retirement), Gernot Krankenhagen was director of the museum, and from 1999 he was also a board member of the newly established Museum der Arbeit Foundation.

From 1995 to 2007 he was a board member of the German Museum Association . In this function he headed the working group “Civic Engagement in the Museum”, from which the publication “Civic Engagement in the Museum” published by the Museum Association in 2008 arose.

From 2006 to 2018 he was deputy chairman of the Friends of the Museum of Labor, which ended up with around 1,300 members. Here he initially helped to organize the museum trips and was a member of the editorial team of the magazine “mitarbeit” for many years. He edited the quarterly “Infobrief”, the members' newspaper, until he left the board.

A quote from Gernot Krankenhagen about the difficult founding of the museum:


“All the Senators of Culture had supported the museum up to then: Dr. Wolfgang Tarnowski , who launched the project for the first time - before my time -, Helga Schuchardt , who brought me to Hamburg, Prof. Dr. Ingo von Münch who enforced the founding resolution and finally Dr. Christina Weiss , who got the building money and opened the museum. The mayors, on the other hand, were not all so impressed [.] Ulrich Klose supported the beginnings, Klaus von Dohnanyi and Dr. Henning Voscherau had nothing or not much left for us, the latter, however, opened later and even took over a seat on our board of trustees in 1999. "

Gernot Krankenhagen is married to Gudrun, geb. Verbeek, has two sons and five grandchildren. He lives in Hamburg.


  • Civic engagement in the museum. Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-9811983-1-7 . ( PDF ).
  • Gernot Krankenhagen (Ed.): Photo Germin : Life and work of a photo journalist. Hamburg 1994, ISBN 978-3-926174-63-5 .
  • together with Horst Laube: materials testing, explosions, fractures and tests. rororo, 980, 1983, ISBN 3-499-17710-2 .
  • (Ed. Together with Klaus Schüle ): Audiovisual media in foreign language teaching . Stuttgart 1974.
  • 12! / 2 years planning - the opening compensates for everything in the magazine mitarbeit '20 years of the Museum of Labor ', publisher: Friends of the Museum, Hamburg June 2017, No. 23/2017, ISSN 1865-0406.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Deutscher Museumsbund e. V .: bulletin 2/99 ( memento of March 6, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on January 14, 2020.
  2. Civic engagement in the museum ( memento from January 18, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on January 14, 2020.
  3. Gernot Krankenhagen was a board member of the Association of Museum der Arbeit e. V. founded museum support association Friends of the Museum of Labor e. V.