Luther maintained a close connection to the County of Mansfeld until the end of his life and travelled to Eisleben several times. He visited the Monastery of St. Anne as the vicar of the district, founded a Latin school, and cautioned peasant insurgents. And when the circle of his life closed in 1546, he also happened to be in the town where he was born.
The Reformer, who was already weakened by sickness, had travelled to Eisleben on January 28th, 1546, in order to settle conflicts amongst the Counts of Mansfeld. After they had signed a contract, Luther died on February 18th, 1546, aged 62 – recent research confirms that it was in 'the fourth grey-brown house, probably that of Dr. Drachstedt, up at the market square'. Today, this is the location of the hotel “Graf von Mansfeld”.
The chronicler confused the house
Since the eighteenth century, local tradition has held that Luther died in another house. In 1726, the chronicler, Eusebius Francke, had confused the houses of Barthel Drachstedt and his father, Dr. Philipp Drachstedt. The Prussian state therefore acquired the wrong building in order to establish a memorial at the place where the Reformer had died. Since 1994, all rooms in the house are used as a museum and a place to remember Luther's death in Eisleben – still, however, not at the historical site.
In 2012, the museum was thoroughly renovate and expanded. The exhibition “Luther's last path” reflects Luther's journey and his last days in Eisleben. The main focus lies on the “death rooms” - the bedchamber and the “death chamber” - with their historical furniture designed by Friedrich Wilhelm Wanderer, and the original pall that covered Luther's coffin in 1546. The expanded exhibition also presents one of the Reformer's hitherto rather unknown aspects: Luther himself, challenged and affected by death, as a mourner, consoler, pastor.
As Luther's birthplace, the museum, “Luther's Death House” belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage since 1996.