Essential Architecture-  Frankfort on the Main (Frankfurt am Main)

Senckenberg Natural History Museum




Frankfurt am Main, Hessen, Germany






Stone trim with stucco


The Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt is the largest museum of natural history in Germany. It is particularly popular with children, who enjoy the extensive collection of dinosaur skeletons: Senckenberg boasts the largest exhibition of large dinosaurs in Europe. One particular treasure is a dinosaur fossil with unique, preserved scaled skin. Also, the museum contains the world's largest and diverse collection of stuffed birds of about 1000 specimens. In 2004 almost 400,000 people visited the museum.

The building that houses the Senckenberg Museum was erected between 1904 and 1907 outside of the center of Frankfurt in the same area as the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, which was founded in 1914. The museum is owned and operated by the Senckenberg Nature Research Society, which began with an endowment by Johann Christian Senckenberg.

Today visitors are greeted outside the building by large, life-size recreations of dinosaurs, which are based on the latest scientific theories on dinosaur appearance. Inside one can follow the tracks of a Titanosaurus, which have been impressed into the floor, towards its impressive skeleton on a sheltered patio.

Attractions include a Parasaurolophus with its crest, a fossilized Psittacosaurus with clear bristles around its tail and visible fossilized stomach contents, and an Oviraptor. Big public draws also include the Tyrannosaurus rex, an original of the also enormous Iguanodon, and the museum's mascot, the Triceratops.

Although the dinosaurs attract the most visitors due to their size, the Senckenberg Museum also has a large collection of animal exhibits from every epoch of Earth's history. For example, the museum houses a large number of originals from the Messel pit: field mice, reptiles, fish, and a predecessor to the modern horse that lived about 50 million years ago and stood less than 60 cm tall.

Unique in Europe is a cast of the famous Lucy, an almost complete skeleton of the upright hominid Australopithecus afarensis. Historical cabinets full of stuffed animals are arranged in the upper levels; among other things one can see 20 examples of the quagga, which has been extinct since 1883.

Since the remodeling finished in 2003, the new reptile exhibit addresses both the biodiversity of reptiles and amphibians and the topic of nature conservation. An accessible rain forest tree offers views of different zones of the rain forest from the ground to the tree canopy and the habitats to which the exotic reptiles have adapted.

The Senckenberg Museum offers regular evening lectures and tours. Entry to the museum is usually free.


Museum website including information in English