A natural history museum that resides in the bright lights Frankfurt. Naturmuseum Senckenberg has been offering a scholarly yet merrymaking experience to the senses of visitors since the early 20th century. This piece of history that educates us on the natural history of Earth and mankind boasts of the highest exhibition of large dinosaurs in all of Europe. The museum flaunts its wide-ranging collection of fossilized remains that belong to a diverse range of birds, animals and other species of the living kingdom from a long distant past. It might sound surprisingly amusing that this building of history tightly grips the interest of children. Although it enjoys a fair share of popularity amongst adults, it’s the young ones that are more inclined to gaze at the enticing remains of the natural history.
This hub of historical knowledge was formally established in the year 1907, a few years before the inception of the first world war. The fact that it stood the calamitous waves of two global-scale wars is a feat in itself considering the fact that Germany was the prime focus during these cataclysmic scenarios. The Senckenberg Nature Research Society takes the credit share of bringing Naturmuseum Senckenberg to existence. This society was a result of intellectual efforts by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a renowned German writer, and statesman, but it was Johann Christian Senckenberg who indirectly inspired the creation of this society even though it came into being decades after his demise. Johann Christian Senckenberg was born in Frankfurt on 28 February 1707 to Johann Hartmann Senckenberg, a medical officer, and Anna Margaretha born Raumburge. He was the second oldest son of the couple. Although being born as the son of an eminent physicist, the life of Johann Christian Senckenberg didn’t sail on smooth waters. When he was merely 12 years old, he along with his family lost their house to a tremendous fire. The efforts to rebuild the house brought visible strain to their financial conditions. By the time the house was restored to its former glory, the Senckenberg family had lost a considerable chunk of their overall financial strength. This all had an adverse effect on the academic pursuits of Johann Christian Senckenberg. Even though he had earned a 100 guilders scholarship, Senckenberg couldn’t follow his academic routine due to financial constraints which eventually resulted in his studies being delayed. However, these troubling times couldn’t vanquish the spirit of Senckenberg and he started working as an intern lead doctor with the Solms noble family. His father mentored him on practical medicine which enticed his interest to enroll in the University of Halle to study medicine.
However, the days of Senckenberg at the University of Halle were numbered as he opted to leave the university in 1731, just a year after his enrollment in the institution. The reason behind this drastic step was his growing inclination towards the pietists, inspirational communities and members of the Moravian Church (Herrnhuter). This brought him to the line conflict with conventional Christian ideology. His beliefs encouraged him to abandon the city church and walk on the path presented to him by the pietists.
During later years in his life, he devoted his existence to a foundation that was entirely focused on ensuring better healthcare for the local citizens. This foundation quickly gained prominence and earned the trust of the city. In 1771, under the leadership of Senckenberg, this foundation successfully inaugurated the construction of Frankfurt Bürgerhospital. It was all these deeds of Senckenberg which prompted Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to lay the foundation stone for the Senckenberg Nature Research Society which in turn led to the creation of Naturmuseum Senckenberg. The Senckenberg Nature Research Society is headquartered at Frankfurt. Its central aim revolves around the research in the domain of Natural Sciences. It could be one of the oldest, if not the oldest societies in all of Germany, being operational since 1817. That makes it more than two centuries old. It is important to note that Naturmuseum Senckenberg isn’t the only initiative by the Senckenberg society as the Naturkundemuseum Görlitz was also founded by it.
That was the brief glimpse of history that this museum and the person that stood as the motivating beacon for the creation of this museum. Coming to the present timeline, this structure of historical knowledge is greatly admired for its flabbergasting display of dinosaur fossils, many of which are exclusive to this museum. The Diplodocus, Hadrosaur, Psittacosaurus, Oviraptor, are some of the members of the dinosaur family who reside in this museum and savor the delightful attention from masses. The Tyrannosaurus rex is also a healthy part of Naturmuseum Senckenberg. This all explains its claim of hosting the most impressive collection of large dinosaurs in all of Europe.
However, the Senckenberg Museum does not restrict itself to the dinosaur kingdom. It offers a plethora of animal exhibits from different ages. From reptiles to birds, Naturmuseum houses relics of the beings who wandered the lands of this planet around 50 million years ago. Their preserved traces have captivated many of the research scholars and alike from all across the globe. Another awe-inspiring relic that Senckenberg Museum holds is a near-complete skeletal frame of Australopithecus afarensis, our ancestors from around 3 million years back in time.
Naturmuseum Senckenberg has been an active presenter of different fossils, relics, and preserved remains of the entities that now stands extinct. This museum is also an active ground of lectures and debates that centers around the Earth and its evolution. These lectures point towards groundbreaking theories and concepts that added the right weight in Science. Alfred Wegener, the famed geophysicist, and meteorologist gave his renowned theory on the continental drift in one such lecture in the year 1912.
The halls of Naturmuseum Senckenberg are open throughout the week. Although the opening and closing hours are distributed quite uniquely throughout the week. On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, it is 9 am–5 pm, while on Sunday and Saturday it’s 9 am-6 pm. The museum runs longest on Wednesdays when the timings are 9 am-8 pm. This museum is always flooded with visitors admiring the remains of history that Naturmuseum humbly hosts.