In the context of our class on museum concepts we visited Frankfurt in late December. Having spent not a small amount of time of my childhood and teenage years in the city I already knew several of the many museums there, but the Historical Museum was none of them. We also visited the Archaeological Museum (being a class of archaeologists and everything, pictured above) and the Caricatura, but both had a ban on photographs, flash or no flash, so sadly no pictures of really great Roman and early Medieval finds (set up in an old monastery, no less!). I apologise.
Anyway, the Historical Museum is mainly centered around Collectors and Donors of Frankfurt, their main exhibition. We sadly had to skip the toll tower so I surely have a reason to come back and take a less rushed look sometime soon (three museums in seven hours are
a lot too much. Believe me.). Their current special exhibition was on ‘Arsenic and New Medicine’, 19th century pharmacy, accompanied by some early 20th century examples, too.
I must say that, while the building is charming, the fact that you have to go down to the cellars first to actually start your tour is a little bit confusing, especially because you’ll land in an un-decorated vault first, something a friend titled “an exhibition of waste of space” which wasn’t completely off. The waiting area is nice-ish, though.
Off to the more interesting part of the cellars!
The museum is built on site and uses parts of the old Staufish court, and the vaulted cellars are part of that.
There’s a model of the court including the toll tower with small zograscopes at several point which show scenes from the daily life during the 12th and 13th century.
The model can even be opened like a doll house (not just this apse, the roof, too)!
See the square in the “ground”? It was some sort of secret (or not so secret, we’re not sure) entrance to a vault beneath the court chapel:
These are not the original regalia of Charlemagne, sadly, but mere replicas. At some point however there were riches and treasures stored down there, and it probably worked as a medieval panic room, too.
Leaving the old sewer system and the vault behind the several upper floors are something completely different. Also the staircase is nice.
The whole exhibition on collectors from Frankfurt is very nicely done. The example above are pinned butterflies and moths and a very neat pair of old field guides divided from the rest of the room by canvas hangings printed with the illustrations from the exhibited books.
I wish I had more halfway decent pictures of the weaponry. The rapier above was the one I’d chosen from the array, and I thought the intarsia on an old musket were really pretty, too.
I have a thing for old-fashioned packaging design, so the special exhibition was quite up my alley. I really enjoyed the subtle differences in the pinks of the Pyramidon packaging.
There’s so much I still wanted to show you but with hurrying through there was too little time to take pictures of everything. I’ll have to put you off until my next visit there, but until then I promise you at least one last museum from my field trips.
I’m rather sorry about the low quality of the pictures, especially once I got out of the cellars. My camera’s battery was low (memo to self: always check the night before) and I shot in a hurry without regards to lighting or stability. Anyway, another reason to return!
Anyone in the area in for tea at IIMORI’s and a museum visit (preferably dolled up)?