Despite all post-war losses the crossbow collection of the Deutsches Historisches Museum is still one of the most important in the world. The crossbows and their fittings in the exhibition are from the 15th to the 20th centuries.
In the Middle Ages crossbows were used as weapons of war, and in later times also in the hunt. But they played their principal role as shooting weapons in the cities and the princely courts. The professional crossbow makers produced weapons of great technical and decorative quality. In the Renaissance and Baroque periods crossbows were adorned with iconographic symbols. Shooting clubs, particularly in the cities of the Holy Roman Empire, took on an important social role, and their gatherings and festivals were part of urban self-representation. The exhibition addresses the development of the crossbow and its societal functions largely by means of weapons from the collections of the Deutsches Historisches Museum.