Museum under Construction – July 2011
100 Objects That Tell the Frankfurt Story
What does the "Frankfurt kitchen" have to do with an umbrella or the English monument? What these three objects – along with ninety-seven others – all have in common is that, as part of the collective municipal memory, they have helped shape epochs in the city's history.
With "Frankfurt once?", the historisches museum frankfurt is planning a major permanent exhibition on the history of the metropolis on the Main, to open in 2015 in the new museum building. "Frankfurt once?" will consist of four thematic galleries entitled "Cityscapes", "Citizens", "Money" and "World". The show will get underway with the "Cityscapes" as a means of providing the visitors orientation. One of the sections within the "Cityscapes" will be the timeline. A hundred objects will recount the town history chronologically from the Staufer period (beginning in ca. 1200) to the present.
The chief focus will be on the collection's main "fossils", and on the town history itself. As part of the collective memory, these objects testify to Frankfurt's specific urban culture. They tell of important events and upheavals that shaped the town, and of its residents.
The English Monument, for example, is not just a gilded lidded goblet of 1558/59, but also a symbol of migration processes. English Protestants forced to leave their homeland presented this vessel to Frankfurt as an expression of thanks for the town's hospitality. The umbrella was once used as evidence before a court of law. During the uprising which took place in Frankfurt in September of 1948, a citizen by the name of Henriette Zobel is said to have beaten a member of the National Assembly to death with this weapon. The Frankfurt kitchen designed by architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky was commissioned by Head of Municipal Housing Ernst May in the 1920s for the flats of "New Frankfurt". This functional design was installed in more than ten thousand homes and is considered to represent the very first fitted kitchen.
The timeline will consolidate the stories of a hundred objects to create a many-layered history of the town, and place the highlights of the historisches museum's collection into new contexts – where they will be accessible to the public once again starting in 2015.