Something old and new: German museums
Did you know there are more than 6,250 museums in Germany? From science to art, history to technology, the museums are informative, imaginative and downright fun. We’ve rounded up just a few must-sees. But there are so many more, so get out and explore!
One of three state museums of Hessen, Museum Wiesbaden houses two collections — the art collection and the natural history collection. For the art lover, the Museum Wiesbaden collection contains what has been dubbed as the most important collection of works by Expressionist Alexei von Jawelensky, anywhere in the world. A walk through the art museum will take you through many forms of art and cover the 12th century through the 19th century. Special exhibits are regularly updated, so check the website to see what’s showing now, or what’s coming up soon.
For the nature lover, the Natural History collection contains a vast archive of preserved nature. In fact, there are more than 1 million natural objects throughout the collection including fossils, butterflies, birds and other animals, and even hunting weapons.
Frauen Museum, Wiesbaden
Few museums in the world focus solely on issues and history of women. Wiesbaden’s internationally recognized Frauen Museum documents the plight of women around the world, covering both historical and current topics, and encompassing international, socioeconomic and cultural borders. Curators have compiled not only extensive, hands-on exhibits, but also organize numerous workshops, lectures and seminars on a variety of topics.
Natural History Museum, Mainz
If you’re looking for full-sized preserved animals, skeletons and fossils from prehistoric to modern times, the Natural History Museum in Mainz is the place to be. Originally opened in 1910, the museum quickly became very popular for collecting, preserving and researching nature. During World War I a large part of the collection was lost and the museum did not re-open again until 1962. Now, the museum holds more than 25,000 pieces, including the hippo, steppe mammoth, elk, the world-famous Mainz quaggas and more. The museum also has an amazing collection of flora and fauna from the Rheinland-Pfalz region.
The museum is incredibly kid-friendly. There are often special exhibits where kids can get hands-on with nature and science by digging for fossils or performing fun experiments. Also, the museum’s café hosts birthday parties for children ages 3-15.
Weltkulturen Museum: The Museum of World Cultures
Heading to the Museumsufer in Frankfurt (aka the Museum Embankment)? Then you’ll definitely want to stop by the Weltkulturen Museum. This museum is considered one of the oldest on the Embankment and stores a collection of more than 67,000 artifacts from Oceania, Africa, Southeast Asia as well as North, Central and South America. It also contains approximately 120,000 ethnographical photographs and films as well as a library of 50,000 books and journals. Carl Einstein, writer, art historian and nephew of Albert Einstein, once described the museum as “a dynamic, living school.” Guided tours are offered in English and there are workshops for every age. The museum also offers to host birthday parties for kids as well as other special events in the labs and other common areas. And for the real ethnology buff, the Weltkulturen Researchers Club meets every second Saturday of the month to explore and the museum as well as other intercultural treasures in and around Frankfurt.
The museum’s open lab is a unique digital space that allow scholars, artists, writers or, basically, anyone who is curious, to openly explore projects and artifacts, comment on them, film them, sketch them and do with them as they please to make their own creation. It’s a truly fascinating extension of the hands-on activities and experiences happening within the museum itself.
Weinschänke and Lorelei Museum
Wine enthusiasts, this one’s for you. Inside the historic Weinschänke Square City Tower in theOld Town of St. Goar sits a small, but unique, collection devoted to the town’s history — which includes that of winegrowing. The exhibit houses Sekt and wine glasses as well as Westerwald stoneware wine pitchers as many as 300 years old. But of course, the best part is that visitors can both taste and purchase wines of the region. The museum also offers guided wine tasting sessions for groups of anywhere from 10 to 60 people —great for a quick trip with friends!