Special exhibition

Museum for Tomorrow

The Senckenberg Natural History Museum celebrates its 200th birthday in 2021!

After the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2017, the 200th birthday of the Senckenberg Natural History Museum in Frankfurt is now upon us. The museum is celebrating its anniversary under the motto “Museum for Tomorrow.” Based on 20 selected objects, the history and the current state of the museum and the collections are presented – as a decentralized exhibition in the museum that leads through many rooms and topics, as a poster campaign and an exhibition brochure, with clips in the social media, as a digitally guided tour in the Mediaguide as well as on the project website museumfortomorrow.de. Special anniversary tours offer an in-depth look at the institution’s history and future.

Four of the 20 anniversary objects

Museum For Tomorrow
Quagga: There are only 23 museum specimens of the extinct quagga in the world, of which the Senckenberg exhibit is one of the best preserved and most anatomically realistic. It already arrived at the museum around 1830.
Museum For Tomorrow
Hand axe: The smartphone of the Paleolithic! The hand axe was not only mobile, but also fulfilled many functions such as striking, cutting, scraping, smoothing, and carving – the starting point of a technological and cultural evolution.
Lion pair “Hunting Monarchs”: This dermoplastic composition involves two Masai lions prepared in 1931 by the world-famous dermoplasticist Herman ter Meer. He was a master of his craft, and his works are still significant today

Triceratops, hand axe, dodo, quagga, Massai lions – these are just five of the 20 selected anniversary objects. Numerous Senckenberg staff members from research and museum were involved in selecting 20 objects from approximately 10,000 exhibition specimens. “The selection was not easy for us,” explains museum director Dr. Brigitte Franzen. “Which objects represent the history and future of the collections? Which ones are peculiar and which ones have been hidden for a very long time, waiting to be discovered?” she continues. “It was important for us to reflect the diversity of our exhibits and the diversity of Senckenberg research,” adds Mulch. Exciting stories of the provenance as well as the historical and scientific significance of each object were the basis for the selection. “With the ‘Museum for Tomorrow,’ we are taking a look at the past and sound out what the future has in store,” says Brigitte Franzen, summarizing the concept of the exhibition and campaign.


The 20 “Museum for Tomorrow” objects are graphically labeled – each representing a decade of museum history. A multi-page leaflet provides additional information. Moreover, visitors can take a digital “Museum for Tomorrow” Mediaguide tour through the project. However, in-person museum tours with Senckenberg guides are also on the program. The Hall of Whales and Elephants features a hands-on station where Senckenberg asks its visitors what the museum of the future might look like.

“We were able to enlist the services of artist Veronika Günther to visualize our anniversary campaign,” says a delighted Brigitte Franzen. “Thanks to her expressive posters, we are also taking the exhibition into the city – and hopefully the posters will soon adorn the walls of our visitors’ homes as well,” she continues.