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The Senckenberg Natural History Museum in Frankfurt

Senckenberg Natural History Museum: Overview Guide with Photos • Germany Travel

There he was, the granddaddy of all dinosaurs the T-Rex!

We had heard about dinosaurs in class, even looked at them in text books. But to stand right next to the life-size skeleton blew my mind on a class trip to the Senckenberg Natural History Museum in the 1990’s.

Our teacher was trying to lead us to the Triceratops, which is on the other side of the well lit entrance hall, but most of my classmates and I only had eyes for the T-Rex, staring at it for several minutes in absolute awe. I do not remember much of the rest of the museum, only the T-Rex was burnt into my memory. And so, years later during a trip to Frankfurt with Denise and my family, we decided to go to the Senckenberg again.
The Senckenberg Natural History Museum is the second largest natural history museum in Germany, beat only by the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. Johann Christian Senckenberg, a medical doctor, founded the Senckenberg in 1821. The current museum building, which also houses the Senckenberg research institute, was built in 1907. It is located downtown between the Messeturm, or Trade Fair Tower, and the Goethe University, just look for two life-size replicas of dinosaurs outside on the grassy area to the left and right of the entrance.
What's in the Senckenberg Natural History Museum?
Although its dinosaurs are the major attraction, the Senckenberg Museum also has an expansive collection of animal exhibits, fossils, rocks, and Egyptian mummies. You can find the exhibit showing the mummies right off the dinosaur area and learn all about mummification of not only people, but also cats and other animals. A bit creepy? Yes, but also very interesting. Many exhibits have English translations, and there are leaflets in various languages available for free at the entrance desk.
Another remarkable exhibit is a cast of Lucy, a skeleton of a human from 3.2 million years ago. If bones are not your thing, there is also a space exhibit, a volcanic eruption demonstration, and the largest collection of preserved, stuffed birds in the world, and a 3D map of the world showing the peaks and valleys of the Earth’s surface.
You can easily spend the entire day wandering through all the exhibitions, but it is so worth it. When you need a break there is a bistro on floor 2 where we had good food for reasonable prices. The only disadvantage of the is its on the smaller side with limited tables, so try to avoid it at peak dining time.

For more information on office hours and ticket prices, you can visit the official Senckenberg Museum website by clicking here.

Here are some photos from our trip to the Senckenberg:

Senckenberg Natural History Museum Overview Guide with Photos • Germany Travel

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How the Staedel Museum Inspired Our Home Design

How the Staedel Museum Inspired Our Home Design

The stranger following behind me on the stairs bumped into me, but it wasn’t their fault. The wall ahead of me, the wall of a likely art hoarder than art collector, literally stopped me mid-step climbing the steps towards the Old Masters Collection. The purple wall was covered entirely, arranged in neat rows by similar sizes of seemingly one period of art, but in all sorts of forms: still lifes, landscapes, portraits, and narrative paintings. It was like a Pinterest board of Old Masters paintings come to life, and it was magnificent.

Thinking back to my pile of favorite photo prints, paintings, and family photos that have been waiting patiently for a few years for me to have an idea and DO something with them, my eyes started to water. THIS was it. My new gallery wall in my office would be in the style of the Petersburger Haengung, or St. Petersburg Picture-Hanging Method. If you missed my original post on the the St. Petersburg Hanging Method and the Staedel Museum, click here to read that, and then come back.

One of the many benefits of any travel is you’re exposed to new ideas and methods you’ve never seen before. Often you’re returning home renewed and inspired, and perhaps even itching to implement changes to your surroundings. I’ve made gallery walls, many, many times, but after visiting the Staedel Museum in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, I’ll never look at them the same way again.

Side by Side: My wall next to the wall that inspired me in the Staedel Museum, Frankfurt

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful" William Morris

It is important that decor is always meaningful, and there isn't anything that's displayed just because it matches or just because it fills the space. Actually I enjoy that I still have space to grow the collection on the right-hand side. The benefit of the St. Petersburg Hanging Method is that you can fit more pieces than you expect.

My Gallery Wall, after being inspired by the Old Masters Wall in the Staedel Museum, Frankfurt

I would have not found this inspiration without visiting the Staedel Museum in Frankfurt and I have been back several times since. I hope you can make it there on your visit to Frankfurt, and when you see the purple wall leading to the Old Masters, think of me. For more ideas on what to see, eat, and do in Frankfurt, click here.

Have you ever redecorated your home after seeing something while traveling? I'd love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments below.


What you need to know about visiting Main Tower in Frankfurt

What you need to know about visiting Main Tower • Frankfurt, Germany • Tourist is a Dirty Word Blog

To experience the best ear popping, sweeping aerial views of Frankfurt, you have to go to the top of Main Tower (pronounced roughly MINE Tower). The high-rise building is named after the nearby river Main, which runs through Frankfurt's city center. All in all, Frankfurt has 19 buildings higher than 164 ft / 50 m, making it the only city in Germany with a skyline. This is why locals often refer to Frankfurt as Mainhattan, a play on the Main river and it's many skyscrapers, comparing Frankfurt to Manhattan in New York City. Although the Main Tower is not the highest skyscraper in Frankfurt, 656 ft / 200 m compared to Commerzbank Tower's 850 ft / 259 m, it is the tallest tower open to the public.

There are two ways to enjoy the 360 degree views of Frankfurt's skyline: you can either take the elevator up, for 6.50 Euros, to the observation deck OR enjoy a cocktail and/or meal at the fine dining Main Tower Restaurant & Lounge, located on the 53rd floor of the tower. If you dine at the restaurant, the cost of the elevator ride will be credited against your bill, so hold onto your receipt, or if you make a reservation the elevator operator will not charge you for the ride. Most of the other floors are rented out as office spaces to different companies for a total of 2,000 people working in the Main Tower.
The Main Tower was designed by Schweger und Partner, who won the architectural competition in 1991, started building in 1996, and finished in 1999. But be warned, the building architect loved glass so much, that he incorporated a lot of it into the design of the viewing platform and the restaurant. If you are afraid of heights, you might want to stand a few feet back from the glass surround on the viewing platform or not sit right by the window at the restaurant.

Have you been to other high-rise observation decks? Tell us about it in the comments below. If you visited the tower, share your photos via link in the comments below. We'd love to see them! The photos above are from a class trip I took.


The Relaxing Way to Explore Frankfurt

The RELAXING Way to Explore Frankfurt • by Tourist is a Dirty Word Blog
Whether you are in Frankfurt for a couple of days or just for a quick layover, you should kick back and enjoy a nice cruise on the river Main. The view from the ship will give you a whole new perspective, no matter if the sun is shining and you are sitting outside on the top deck or if it is a windy day and you prefer to sit at one of the large window tables inside the ship.
We picked a ‘Sightseeing cruise’ on a boat from ‘Primus Linie’, the largest cruise operator in Frankfurt located on Mainkai 36. You can choose one of the 50 minute cruises or opt for the full route at 100 minutes. The longer tour combines the two 50 minutes routes, one upstream and one downstream, returning to the dock in between. Credit cards payments require a small surcharge over cash payments. On board, only cash is accepted and you can pick from reasonable priced drinks (alcoholic & non-alcoholic) and small food items like french fries or ice cream, while you listen to the descriptions of the different buildings, bridges and the history of the area in German and English.
On the 100 minute excursion you will travel along the ‘Sachsenhausen’ district, where most of Frankfurt’s nightlife and parties happen. You will also pass the Roemer building, which was Frankfurt’s city hall for over 600 years and catch a glimpse of the ‘Museumsufer’ (Museum Embankment) with the fabulous Staedel Art Museum, which we wrote about in one of our previous posts. Click here if you missed it. Primus Linie also offers full-day excursions on the river Rhine, Sky-Light cruises where you can see the skyline of Frankfurt lit up after the sunset and themed cruises, for example a family brunch or a New Year's Eve fireworks cruise.
One word of advice if you are cruising on a weekday evening, where a cruise like this is very popular with the locals as an ‘after-work’ event to watch the sunset and have a beer or two. The ship can get very full with employees having a good time and you might not be able to hear the narration over the speakers or get a good seat if you board late. Try to avoid this peak ‘party’ time and go during the day.
For more information check out the website of Primus Linie This is not a sponsored, or affiliated post. This was something we chose to do on our own, had a wonderful time, and hope you find it helpful.

P. S. Here are some photos from our cruise that Denise took. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below. Enjoy!

Views from cruising the River Main, by Frankfurt am Main • Tourist is a Dirty Word Blog • Germany Travel


How the Staedel Museum in Frankfurt am Main Stole my Heart

How the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, Germany Stole My Heart • Tourist is a dirty word blog

There it was, the Renoir painting After the Luncheon. Wait, there’s Degas too! They’re in the same gallery, just hanging out (pun intended). I’ve loved Pierre Auguste-Renoir since I was ten or eleven years old. My first grownup art book was a monograph of Renoir’s work, and I’d loved it to threadbare status. Renoir was my gateway drug to the Impressionist art movement, the responsible party for leading me hand in hand to Degas, Monet, and Cassatt. Discovering that the Staedel Museum in Sebastian’s backyard city of Frankfurt am Main had Renoir and Degas in its collection got me in the door of its impressive, stern facade, but I was unsuspecting that the Museum itself would steal my heart as well.

Exterior Facade of the Städel Museum, and Exhibition View of the Old Masters, images copyright of the Städel Museum
Leading to The Old Masters
Some might say it was the wall of an art hoarder, but I would say it was magnificent. The wall was a bright jewel tone purple, and the oil paintings that scaled the entirety were rich and opulent. You had the feeling that someone had more artwork than they knew what do with, which I learned later was exactly the point. This style was called Petersburger Hängung, which translates to Petersburg Picture-Hanging Method, after the St. Petersburg Hermitage style. This was the trend of the museum’s founder, Johann Friedrich Staedel’s time, before the modern day hanging trend where paintings are more isolated from each other and regarded individually. I’ll go into more detail of how this impacted me in another post.
Exterior View Städel Museum and Städel Garden and Contemporary Art Collection images copyright of the Städel Museum
700 Years of Art History Under One Roof Is Not a Joke
That first trip we made a valiant effort to explore all of the floors. After staring at every brush stroke of Renoir and his buddies in the Room 4 of the Modern Art Floor, we tracked down Johannes Vermeer’s The Geographer painting in the Old Masters, then finally explored the underground expansion for the modern art collection. It feels like they dug out the entire backyard of the museum, put these white bubble skylights all over so you feel like you’re actually on top of the building, and then painted all of the rooms white. It’s a perfect home for the modern art collection, and is an example of modern architecture in its own right.
The breadth and variety in the collection is enough to keep me entertained for a very, very long time. After studying at Ringling College, where I had four solid years of art history as part of my major in Illustration’s curriculum, walking through the Staedel’s galleries I can attest that it feels as though my textbooks exploded.
Close-up of Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) After the Luncheon (1879) at Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, and Museum Shop, images copyright Städel Museum
If You Love Me, Say It With Books
To be fair, most German museums make valiant efforts to have a map or brochure of their exhibits in English. Staedel took it one step further and offered a palm-sized BOOK, in color, entirely in English, for 5 euros! With, or without the book, the majority of the signage and artwork descriptions were bilingual, German and English. And while speaking of books, the cafe and bookshop is not a tourist trap! This is a supreme example of a well curated bookstore and cafe. I’ve found many unique art books and gifts that passed the illustrious test of ‘Is it worth its weight in the German chocolate which it is replacing in the suitcase? This is the coffee-table art monograph I traded my weight in chocolate for. Its available state-side on Amazon, affiliate link: Masterpieces from the Städel Museum: Selected Works from the Stadel Museum Collection by Max Hollein.

Is there a museum that surprised and delighted you? How? Which one? Have you been to the Stadel? What was your experience? Let Sebastian and I know in the comments. We'd love to hear from you!

For more resources about the Staedel
And Google included the Staedel Museum as part of their Art Project, where you can virtually visit the museum.

Photo Credits

The first title photo/image is my own, and copyright 2015, Polar Bear Studio, LLC. The remaining, stunning photos are copyright to the Städel Museum, and used in accordance to their Newsroom for press coverage of the museum.


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Thank you For Reading! Denise & Sebastian | Photo by Irene Fiedler