|Martin Luther – Life, ministry, and impact|
The Luther House is the world’s largest museum for the history of the Reformation. Many visitors have always been particularly drawn to the building itself. The ‘Luther hall’ (‘Lutherstube’) has largely been preserved in its original state and possesses a particularly strong aura. This is where the Protestant reformer’s famous ‘table talks’ (Tischgespräche) took place. Visitors to this room feel as if they were transported directly back to the time of Luther. The magnificently furnished lecture theatre and the refectory are also particularly impressive rooms.
The permanent exhibition relates the life and ministry of the Protestant reformer, but also the everyday life of his family and the rich history of Luther’s impact. All of the objects on display are originals. The collection’s most prominent objects include Luther’s pulpit from Wittenberg's parish church (St. Mary's), a monk's habit worn by Luther, a depiction of the Ten Commandments by Lucas Cranach the Elder, and the so-called Community Chest (‘Gemeiner Kasten’). This provided a sort of social security fund for the support of the needy and a source of social change in the age of the Reformation. Luther's Bible and the many valuable historical printings, manuscripts, and pamphlets, as well as prints and the numerous paintings by Cranach are equally worthy of attention.
The exhibition is divided into several parts. The biographical presentation is particularly well suited to visitors with a limited amount of time. It is spread through the ground floor and first storey and offers a compact overview of Luther’s life, particularly of the period spent in Wittenberg, from 1508 to 1546. The presentation also leads visitors through the house's most important rooms.
The cellar contains those parts of the permanent exhibition related to the daily life of the Luther family. Numerous written sources provide a precise image of the Protestant reformer’s household, which Katharina von Bora managed in the manner of a medium-sized business. The students who lived in the house were an important source of income. In order to provide the entire household with food, she maintained a considerable amount of farmland and garden space. This is all presented among the cellar’s vaults. Eight models with sound effects represent typical scenes from Luther’s house: a group gathered for a meal, for example. Hand-carved figures vividly bring alive the Luther family’s daily life in and around their home.
The Luther House contains one of the most extensive collections of Luther's reception in images, ranging from 1546 to 1983. The permanent exhibition in the second storey has gathered together the following exponents: paintings of Luther in large and small formats, busts of Luther, Luther medals, Luther in memorial and satirical prints, Luther on monuments, Luther on cups and tins, as well as Luther chairs, Luther posters, and Luther in films – a stimulating voyage following Luther’s traces down through the centuries.
On the southern side of the Luther House, the remains of a building recount Luther's life. The remnants of a wall were discovered during work in the garden in summer 2004; they proved to be part of a completely preserved cellar. This addition to the main house became known around the world because it had housed Luther’s toilet. In recent years, the structure was completely excavated and measures were taken for its conservation. A modern roof made up of panels of inflated polymer foil has protected the excavation site since 2010.