The collection housed at Friedrichstein encompasses objects pertaining to Hessian military history, including historical weapons, uniforms, medals, and paintings dating from the Middle Ages to the incorporation of the Electorate into the State of Prussia in 1866, as well as hunting devices and weapons of the 16th to 19th centuries formerly belonging to the Landgraves.
Hunting, for centuries the exclusive privilege of the high nobility, represented the ruling families' claims to power and governance. Weapons and hunting gear, therefore, served another purpose besides the merely functional: they were status symbols and were also required to do justice to their owners' high aesthetic standards. Among the more prestigious pieces in the Landgravial-Hessian collection are sumptuously ornate crossbows and wheel-lock rifles dating from the 17th century.
Another focus of the permanent exhibition is the so-called Turcica Collection. It encompasses weapons and other valuable pieces of Ottoman provenance, acquired for the collections of the Landgraves and Electors of Hesse-Kassel from the 16th to the 19th century – some the spoils of war, others in the shape of gifts or strategic purchases. The highlight of this collection is an audience tent used by the Turkish army and dating from around 1700. The tent, decorated with outstanding appliqué work, is one of just six near-complete Ottoman tents preserved in German collections.
The on-line database and a catalogue on the Turcica collection provide additional, detailed information and photo material on every individual exhibit.