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The exhibition "Silk Robes and Leather Jackets" illustrates the equally restorative and progressive tendencies of women's fashion in the 1950s.

An important criterion in the design work of Frankfurt fashin designer Erika Segel-Reinhardt is the movement of the modern woman – with "shoulders thrust forward and steps reaching out." Cut and fabric are crucial to the wearer's freedom of movement. The HMF will devote special attention to this theme in the coming years.


In the 1950s, leather was primarily associated with functional clothing. Leather is largely insensitive to weather; it offers protection against wet and cold, making it predestined for making coats and jackets. Leather was not considered particularly chic, let alone particularly glamorous, and was thus by no means predestined for exclusive clothing fashins. Starting from these preconditions, Erika Segel-Reinhardt developed a sophisticated fashin line of rboth female and male customers. Exclusive jackets and coats were made of exotic material, mostly gazelle or antelope leather. From the very beginning, Erika Segel-Reinhardt decided against the fashion doctrine of the 1950s and thus against fashion cut narrowly to the figure with a strongly cinched waist. Erika Segel-Reinhardt's leather fashion, on the other hand, was based on a loos cut that hugged the figure and did not restrict movement, but allowed it. As a modern woman who loved sports, she developed fashion for "the woman on the road, the woman in the car, the sporty woman" (according to an advertisement). She made fashion for women like herself: professional, mobile and succsesfull. In addition to the leather models, a no less exclusive evening fashion was created from silk fabrics, which also impressively demonstrates the high standard in processing and design creation.

Many of Erika Segel-Reinhardt's models have survived solely through the photographs of Regina Relang. Relang (Stuttgart 1906 –1989 Munich) was one of the most influential and world famous fashion photographers of the 1950s and 1960s. After studying painting in Berlin, she moved to Paris in 1932 and was able to make a name for herself as a self-taught fashion and travel photographer in a very short time. She photographed travel and fashion reports in southern Europe for Vogue, Madame and Harper's Bazar, among others. She staged the fashions of major fashion houses such as Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin, and Yves Saint-Laurent, creating the iconic images that continue to define the modern image of women in the post-war era and the era of awakeing. Her work was distributed by the international photo agency Magnum Phots Inc., New York.

Throughout her life she received numerous photography awards and in 1972 was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit for her work. Regina Relang also staged all of Erika Segel-Reinhardt's models. From travel photography she took over the work in urban space. She often dispensed with studio shots and instead photographed the mannequins in everyday urban scenes to visualize a modern urban lifestyle.
Felicitas Lampert was attending the Meisterschule für Mode, Institut für Modeschaffen, in Frankfurt am Main (under the direction of Emy Grassegger) when she met Erika Segel-Reinhardt. After passing the master's examination, Felicitas Pleitgen, as she was then known, had obtained a position with her. From 1959 to 1961, she was the personal assistant to the company manager. After she left, the two women were close friends. After Segel-Reinhardt's death in 1991, she kept her estate in safekeeping. In the summer of 2010, the HMF acquired a wollen costume at an auction at the Neumeister auction house in Munich, which was presented as a final project of the Institute of Fashion Design in Frankfurt, the former Frankfurt Fashion Office. Research revealed that it was a work by Felicitias Lampert, who offered the museum the estate of Erika Segel-Reinhardt.

April 6 – September 13, 2015
Frankfurt artist Karsten Bott and for the HMF the exhibition was a novelty. It was the first time the artist exhibited so extensively in a museum of cultural history and the first time the HMF invited a contemporary artist for an art installation. On an area of 220 square meters, six floor-to-ceiling shelves with a total of 140 compartments formed the center of the exhibition.

The shelves are densely filled with objects. Their arrangement reveals concepts of order and promotes diverse connections. Material- or function-related groups of objects, to which terms such as sport, camping, tools or electrical fit, are related to groups of objects assigned to themes such as age, family, history or even universe. Individual showcases contain the "Same Multiples," the variations of an everyday object that is always the same, such as a VHS tape, a clothespin, or a bread roll.

Karsten Bott has been collecting everyday objects since 1988, calling it "Archive for Contemporary History." The artist and collector archives and catalogs the pieces and always presents them anew for his exhibitions. It becomes clear that a complete recording and, above all, an ordering and classification of the world is not possible. For the presentation the artist got involved with the place and refers to the collector's museum, which is part of the HMF.

The exhibition was curated by Susanne Gesser.


The generous donation of Margarete and Martin Murtfeld was the occasion to exhibit the photographs of Gisèle Freund in the 13th Collector's Room.

Gisèle Freund – who was a politically engaged student at the Institute for Social Research under Karl Mannheim – was present with her Leica camera when the labor movement, together with left-wing parties and student groups, demonstrated against the supporters of the National Socialists in Frankfurt on May 1, 1932. Her photographs are unique historical testimonies that already exhibit the photographic eye for scenes and stories for which, after her escape to Paris, she became known as one of the most important women photographers of the 20th century.

The presentation was curated by Martha Caspers.


The starting point of the exhibition are 15 large-format close-up photographs showing ten people. They are prisoners of war from North and West Africa who were photographed in a prison camp. But how do these photographs fit in with our image of the First World War?

The exhibition challenges these very notions and tells the stories and contexts of these photographs that have received little attention until now. The show thematically follows on from past exhibitions "Strangers in Sight. Photo albums from World War II" and "The Third World in World War II".

The soldiers

Half a million men from the French colonies fought for France in the First World War. They were often recruited under duress. It is this deployment that gives the term "World War" its truly global meaning. Also fighting on the British side were many Canadians, Australians and especially Indians, and on the Russian side often Muslim non-Russians from Central Asia and the Caucasus. In the process, many became prisoners. In special camps, the Central Powers Germany and Austria-Hungary gathered such soldiers of their opponents, whom they had hoped could take action against the British and French colonial rulers of their countries of origin.


Trailer of the performance of the Compagnie Mémoires Vives from Strasbourg: "A nos morts"
The exhibition is accompanied by the 160-page book "Gefangene Bilder. Wissenschaft und Propaganda im Ersten Weltkrieg" published by Michael Imhof Verlag . It contains 150 color illustrations of the exhibition objects and supplementary information. With contributions from Sophie Bajart, Anna-Maria Brandstetter, Antoine Champeaux, Julie Coulombel, Eric Deroo, Katja Geisenhainer, Jean-Louis Georget,  Jan Gerchow, Hélène Guillot, Margot Kahleyss, Karl-Heinz Kohl, Richard Kuba, Britta Lange, Joe Lunn and Sandra Maß. Edited by co-authors Benedikt Burkard und Céline Lebret.
ISBN 978-3-7319-0069-6, bookstores and Museum: 19,95 € 


The Science

Colonial prisoners of war also became the object of study for researchers in the camps, who thus gained access to people of diverse ethnicities from all over the world without the need for costly expeditions. In accordance with the customs of a science in the colonialist tradition, they were measured with compasses, their heads were cast in plaster and examined for ostensible racial characteristics; they were filmed, for example at festivities in the camps, and their music and voices were recorded on records and wax cylinders. How should museums deal with such "sensitive collections" today?


Many German propaganda pamphlets, postcards, and other depictions denounced the use of black soldiers, "savage beasts of the lowest cultural level," in the figh against the German "cultural nation." And even an ethnologist like Leo Frobenius, who on the one hand collected fairy tales and myths from the prisoners, published a book (for which the photographs shown were taken) in whose introduction he equated France and Britain with tamers.

The memory

It was not only during the First World War that a racially influenced sense of superiority played a role. When, for example, black soldiers were used as occupation troops during the occupation of the Rhineland from 1919 to 1930, this provoked great indignation among the Germen public under the slogan "Schwarze Schmach". Today, only a few cemeteries and memorials commemorate the presence and fates of the colonial soldiers. The exhibition sets out to give a voice to the non-European participants of the "Great War" and to draw attention to one of the origins of racism in our society.
In cooperation with the Frobenius Institute at the University of Frankfurt and the Institut français Frankfurt.

No other family had as much influence on the development of the city of Frankfurt as the Holzhausen family.

From 1243, when Heinrich von Holzhausen moved from the Taunus to the growing city, to 1923, when Adolph Freiherr von Holzhausen died without descendants, members of the family shaped the social and political development of the city. Throughout the centuries, they promoted the arts and social commitment. Their biographies and the works of art in the exhibition bear eloquent witness to this.


700 years in Frankfurt
68 mayors

From 1255, when Heinrich von Holzhausen was elected alderman, to 1806, 68 mayors were members of the Holzhausen family – more than of any other family. Such a wealth of power was the result of clever cooperation with other families of the tone-setting social class. These alliances were preferably concluded or consolidated through marriages. Through a clever marriage policy, the Holzhausen increased their political and social importance.

Donors and networkers

The social influence of the Holzhausen family can be seen above all in the sponsorship of ecclesiastical institutions and sacred art. The reliquary cross donated to the Liebfrauenkriche by Siegfried von Marburg zum Paradies around 1370 is a reminder of the era when Frankfurt's independence was completed. Over the centuries, the Holzhausen family was repeatedly able to exert political influence by filling decisive positions with family members.

Wise and rich

In the early 16th century, humanism and the Reformation led to a profound upheaval in Frankfurt as well. The Holzhausen family played a major role in this: Hamman von Holzhausen was one of the founders of the Frankfurt Latin School in 1520 – the predeccesor of today's grammar schools in Frankfurt – and helped Protestantism and Luther's teachings achieve a breakthrough in the imperial city. Hamman's son Justinian von Holzhausen was an extremely self-confindent representative of the strength of the Frankfurt patrician class. He had himself protrayed by Conrad Faber von Creuznach with the symbols of wealth. The Holzhausen commissions made him one of the most important German Renaissance painters.

Large landowners

The maoted castle – the later Holzhausen castle – rose to become a museum estate under Justinian. Under Johann Hieronymus von Holzhausen, the little castle was rebuilt into a Baroque ensemble in the 18th century and has survived in this form to this day. While the family's importance in city politics declined, the Holzhausen acquired further estates and thus rose to become feudal landowners.

The Holzhausen quarter

Their last representative – Adolph Freiherr von Holzhausen – bequeathed his inheritance to the city of Frankfurt and its citizens. The extensive estate around Holzhausenschlösschen had become extremely lucrative in view of the expansion of the city and was now sold for expensive money. The result was one of the most noble neighborhoods in the city, the Holzhausenviertel.


The Burnitz Building from 1848 is part of the Historical Museum's old building ensemble, but who knows its namesake? It is its master builder Rudolf Burnitz (1788-1849), whose son Heinrich (1827-1880) also became an architect. Although together they played a decisive role in shaping Frankfurt's cityscape for more than half a century, Rudolf and Heinrich Burnitz have been almost completely forgotten. The exhibition now honors their work comprehensively for the first time.

Rudolf Burnitz's first building after his arrival in Frankfurt in 1822 was the Metzler Palace in Bonames; he had recommended himself for such a project with a princely palace in Hechingen. Only a few years later he was entrusted with the new building tasks of the burgher town – orphanage, hospital and old people's home on behalf of foundations. Unfortunately, all these buildings are no longer preserved, as well as his residence on Untermainkai.

Heinrich Burnitz also built welfare buildings, but he made his career in the rapidly changing city mainly with residential and commercial buildings. Only a few of his works have survived, including two houses on Kaiserstraße, the Rothschild's showcase Luisenhof farm, and his most significant – the New Börse (jointly built with Oscar Sommer). Lost are representative residential buildings, among others for the banking families Metzler and Grunelius, as well as the first Frankfurt hall building.
The exhibition is essentially based on the Burnitz collection of the HMF, which was considerably expanded in 2009 by a partial bequest from the family. Buildings and designs are presented on the basis of high-quality, often colored original drawings, supplemented by photographs and models. The education of the two architects can also be reconstructed from the collection's holdings – with study papers, photographs and travel sketches, especially from Italy. Selected examples also represent Rudolf Burnitz's work for the Hohenzollern princes of Hechingen and Sigmaringen.
The exhibition offers a differentiated insight into the local building history of the 19th century from classicism to historicism. By theamtizing the builders and embedding them in the development of the city, it conveys a picture of Frankfurt's history of that time that goes beyond architecture. A comprehensive catalog will be published. The exhibition was curated by Michael Stöneberg.

„The guest worker" is the central figure in Drago Trumbetaš's artistic work. In his extensive graphic and literary work, the croatian painter, graphic artist and author has repaetedly dealt with the schizophrenic situation of "guests who work". Dragutin Trumbetaš, a trained typesetter, came to Frankfurt in 1966. He lived for many years in an attic apartment in Sandweg. From this equally exposed and isolated location, he documented the situation of guest workers in Frankfurt in an idiosyncratic artistic style, thus also providing a critical view of the city.

„Workers have been called, and people are coming." This much-quoted statement by the writer Max Frisch sums up the dilemma in dealing with the – then so-called – guest workers: they were supposed to do their work as invisibly and silently as possible, ideally be replaceable at any time, and leave as few traces as possible in West German society. Max Frisch's dictum could also stand paradigmatically above the graphic and literary work of Drago Trumbetas: He claims for himself the position of an incorruptible observer who documents the life of guest workers in Frankfurt.

Even though his drawings repeatedly focus on private life, they are far from comfortable depictions of milieu. Trumbetas makes visible what the society of the time did not want to see: the often unacceptable living conditions in the barracks and garrets or everyday family life in small, overpriced apartments, where all areas of life took place in the smallest of spaces. At the same time, his "alien gaze" also reveals how Frankfurt presented itself to the newcomers: a cold, stony and bustling city dominated by streets, cars and advertising.
The exhibition includes about 30 collages, consisting of drawings, photographs and newspaper clippings, with scenes from work and leisure as their subject. The collages are complemented by Drago Trumbetas's "Guest Worker's Shack": Trumbetas has kept all the furniture and objects with which his approx. 12 square meter attic room in Sandweg was furnished, so that the room can be faithfully reconstructed. Another part of the exhibition is dedicated to his print works, which were issued in several editions in the 1970s and 80s.



Grandpa always listened to the radio very loudly, grandma looked a bit like a sausage; grandpa died early and grandma's bathroom always smelled so strange. Memories of grandparents are first of all childhood memories of old people. But what do we know about the past when grandparents were young? They are our most personal connection to a past we only know from movies and books. But how did grandparents live and love in those times? And, what do we have left of them?

For a good two years, artist Mats Staub has been asking generations of grandchildren to talk to him and collecting pictures and stories from their grandparents. His "memory office" travels from city to city – creating a constantly growing, international archive of subjective stories and a collection of photographs showing grandparents in their younger years. A selection from this rich trove will be presented by Mats Staub as an audio exhibition at the HMF.

 „My Grandparents" looks at the upheavals of the 20th century, but the grandchildren do not narrate as contemporary witnesses, but of a time they only know from hearsay – they construct a narrative from their memories of narratives. The audio installations lead into a cosmos of exciting and speculative stories – and at the same time they pose personal questions about origin and identity, remembering and forgetting, legend and truth.

A long-term project by Mats Staub


The first cabinet exhibition of the Historical Museum on the upper floor of the Staufer Chapel in the Saalhof is dedicated to objects made of a very special material: things made of plastic from the Eva Stille Collection.

Plastics entered the German vernacular at the beginning of the 20th century: the organ of German plastics trade associations propagated it in the magazine "Kunststoffe". What was meant by this were the materials that were newly created from chemically transformed natural substances or produced entirely synthetically. Today, it is impossible to imagine our everyday lives without plastics – and they are sometimes perceived as an excessive burden, since some plastics cause lasting damage to the environment.
This was not always the case: artificially produced materials began to gain acceptance over 140 years ago. Whether buttons or belt buckles made of galalith or celluloid – the new materials offered inexpensive alternatives to natural materials such as ivory or mother-of-pearl. Objects made of plastic permeated everyday life on a grand scale and widened the circle of social participation in useful and beautiful things. The further development of plastics made it possible to establish entirely new aesthetic categories in the world of consumption and goods. It is also impossible to imagine the world of technical inventions without materials such as Bakelite. In short, plastics conquered our society in the 20th century.

Eva Stille's collection depicts the fascination that emanated from the new materials and still emanates today: the colorful variety of everyday objects provides an impressive insight into the beginnings of the plastic age. The more than 600 objects have belonged to the HMF since 2009; in the exhibition we are showing a selection of over 130 exhibits. As a collector, the Frankfurt resident by choice was also a curator, as she also devoted herself to researching the objects in order to use them to create exhibitions for and with museums. As early as 1960, Eva Stille began to systematically build up collections of everyday historical objects – often at flea markets. She specialized in areas such as toys, fashion and housework, Christmas tree decorations and, of course, early plastics.
Eva Stille has worked with the HMF for many years on joint exhibition projects, which eventually lead to the first cabinet exhibition. The exhibition on the Stille plastics collection marks the beginning of a series that will present other collectors at regular intervals. In this way, the cabinet exhibitions are closely linked to the large permanent exhibition Frankfurt Collectors and Donors, which presents twelve different Frankfurt collector personalities as well as their time-typical preferences in collecting: be it collecting as an appropriation of the world, for bourgeois representation or, as in the case of Eva Stille here, as curatorial action.


The Second World War devastated not only Europe, but also large parts of the Third World. China alone suffered more deaths than Germany, Italy and Japan combined. The exhibition recalled this with photos, objects, texts, video and audio stations, as well as the missions of millions of (colonial) soldiers from Africa, Asia, Oceania and Latin America, who also fought on the front lines in Europe to free the world from Nazi terror and Japanese delusions of great power.

Hardly any other period in contemporary history seems to have been so well researched, so well covered by the media, so well taught in schools as the Second World War – and yet there are still blank spots in our historical consciousness: Millions of soldiers from Africa, Asia and Oceania fought in the Second World War to liberate the world from German National Socialism, Italian fascism and Japanese megalomania.
India alone provided 2.5 million colonial soldiers, and China suffered more casualties than Germany, Italy, and Japan combined. Both the fascist Axis powers and the Allies recruited auxiliary troops and laborers in their colonies, often by force. Japanese military personnel also abducted hundreds of thousands of women from Asia into their front-line brothels. Recruits from the colonies, whether volunteers or conscripts, had to settle for less pay, inferior accommodations, and lower war pensions than their "white" comrades.

Large parts of the Third World – from North Africa to the Middle East and India to Southeast Asia and Oceania – also served as battlefields and were left devastated and mined at the end of the war. More civilians died in the liberation of the Philippine capital Manila from the Japanese occupiers than in Berlin, Dresden or Cologne. The colonies of the belligerent powers also had to supply food for the fighting troops and raw materials for armaments production. As a result, the local population often went hungry.
The Nazi regime also obtained materials vital to the war effort from French colonies in Africa and Indochina, which were under the contro of the collaborationist government in Vichy. The Nazis, after subjugating Eastern Europe, also wanted to conquer a colonial empire in Central Africa and advance into the Middle East via North Africa. Hundreds of thousands of Jews in this region therefore also had to fear for their lives. In 1942, an SS commando landed in Tunisia to exterminate Jews in occupied North Africa, and as late as Shanghai, China, tens of thousands of Jewish refugees found themselves threatened by Gestapo persecutors. In the Third World, however, there were not only victims but also collaborators of the fascist Axis powers, from North Africa and Palestine to Iraq and India, Thailand and Indonesia. Who know that 3000 Indians fought on the side of the German Wehrmacht against the British colonial masters?

Did the Second World War really begin on September 1, 1939? Or does it not already include the conquest of Ethiopia by Italian colonial troops from the fall of 1935 or the Japanese war of extermination against China, which began in the summer of 1937 and for which the Nanking Massacre stands in Chinese memory?
From September 27, 2012 to April 7, 2013, the exhibition "The Third World in World War II," prepared by the association Recherche International and the Rheinisches JournalistInnenbüro in Cologne, was on display at the HMF. Especially for Frankfurt, relics and objects had been added that refer to this largely ignored past, and the video and audio stations were supplemented with a Frankfurt reference. After all, descendants of those who experienced the Second World War 70 years ago from a non-European perspective also live here. But the stories they have to tell have hardly been heard so far.
These include the hip-hop dance theater group "Mémoires Vives" from France, who were invited to perform their piece "A Nos Morts". Their homage to the forgotten colonial soldiers was performed under the title "Die vergessenen Befreier" (The Forgotten Liberators" in a German version (with overtitles on video screen).
The accompanying program also included films, readings, lectures and guided tours. Seminars for young people and teacher training were offered in cooperation with the Pedagogical Center of the Jewish Museum and the Fritz Bauer Institute as well as with the Hessian UNESCO project schools.

Further information on the exhibition homepage 


The well-known model of the old town was built between 1925 and 1961 by the brothers Hermann and Robert Reuner for the Frankfurt Historical Museum. In the summer of 2011, it was presented anew in the context of the already more than century-long debate about architectural aesthetic ideas, urban planning visions and monument protection of Frankfurt's Old Town.

On the one hand, the Old Town model represents a documentation of historical buildings and streets, on the other hand, it feeds romanticizing ideas of life in the Old Town. The socially and hygienically untenable conditions of the time are not visible in the model's neatly painted alleys and facades. In this sense, the model was always a construct: it sketched a reduced, harmonious, and homogenours image of Frankfurt's old town as it probably never existed.

The model's wooden buildings keep alive the memory of different states of the old town and of interventions in its built structure: the firewalls on Braubachstrasse became visible after this street was broken through the neighborhood in 1904/05. During National Socialism, backyards such as the one at Fünffingerplätzchen and the Kirschgarten were gutted as part of the so-called "Old Town Revocery" in the "City of German Crafts". After 1945, the Salzhaus and the Goethehaus, among others, were the subject of many years of debate about reconstruction and modernity.
In addition to the model of the old town, other models as well as paintings, graphics and photographs by the brothers and other artists were presented to the public for the first time in the exhibition. Insight was also given into the model building process, of which sketchbooks with measurements and large-format drawing have been preserved.

Venue of the exhibition

Customer center of the Frankfurter Sparkasse
Neue Mainzer Straße 49
60311 Frankfurt am Main

Accompanying book

Das Frankfurter Altstadtmodell der Brüder Treuner. Hrsg. von Jan Gerchow und Petra Spona, mit Beiträgen von Oliver Elser, Jan Gerchow, Oliver Morr, Petra Spona, Michael Stöneberg und Christian Walter, Henrich Editionen 2011, 32 Seiten, 35 Abbildungen, Bd. 1 der kunststücke des historischen museums frankfurt, hrsg. von Jan Gerchow, 9,95 €


On the occasion of Abisag Tüllmann's 75th birthday, the HMF presented for the first time posthumously the multi-layered work of one of Germany's most important female photographic artists. In addition to her extensive work as a photojournalist and artist, there is also a theater photography oeuvre comprising more than 200 stage performances – both of which the exhibition and the catalog book brought together for the first time.

With over 18,000 visitors, the exhibition met with great public interest and encouraged visitors to come back several times. In addition to the quality of the photographs and their contemporary historical context, the exibition concept was also perceived positively. "Seen for the 2nd time and now recognized: of course wonderful photos, but also extremely well hung and arranged," wrote a visitor in the guest book. Already on the day of the opening, the presentation was presented in a report of the Tagesschau. A consistently positive and extensive coverage in the print and online media followed.

The exhibition was on view at the Museum für Fotografie der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin from June 17 to September 18, 2011.

The exhibition project

The basis of the project was an initial scholarly review and evaluation of the estate in the Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz Berlin (50.000 positives, 260,000 negatives, 10.000 slides, archival materials) and in the Deutsches Theatermuseum Munich (17,000 positives, 350,000 negatives, 17,000 slides). In addition to extensive research in other public and private archives, Tüllmann's working methods were traced through interviews with assistants, clients, artist friends and companions.

Spanning forty years of freelance photojournalistic work, the presentation featured a selection of more than 385 black-and-white vintage prints and three color projections, as well as numerous examples of her extensive publishing practice in newspapers, magazines, and books in six large, thematically organized room units.
As a grandiose prelude to Absiag Tüllmann's multifaceted pictorial work, the original photographs for the photo book "Großstadt" (Big City), published in 1963, were on display – a tribute to her adopted home of Frankfurt am Main. Photographs of the events and protagonists of the '68 movement, such as Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Joschka Fischer, of the artist and theater scene in Germany and abroad, with pictures of Joseph Beuys and Bernhard Minetti, as well as of politicians and business leaders, make Abisag Tüllmann a chronicler of contemporary history in the second half of the 20th century. This also applies to her foreign reports on post-colonial developments in Algeria, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, South Africa and the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Tüllmann's second focus of work was theater photography. Important speech and musical theater stages were her clients at home and abroad. The first photographs, found in the course of research in a private collection, were taken as early as the early 1960s in Frankfurt. The artistic collaboration with Claus Peymann, which lasted almost thirty years and whose productions she accompanied photographically, represented a highlight of the exhibition.
Since 1958, Abisag Tüllmann's photographs in newspapers, magazines and books have shaped the collective visual memory of the German and international public. As a photojournalist and theater photographer, she focused her gaze on the political, social and artistic upheavals of her time. With enigmatic humor, she observed everyday life and the conditions of human coexistence in the world. Themes such as exclusion, homelessness and the vulnerability of human existence were always at the center of her committed photographic work. These important aspects, which characterize Tüllman's work, were given special consideration in the exhibition concept.
The show was created in cooperation with the Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin, the Deutsches Theatermuseum, Munich, and the Abisag Tüllmann Stiftung, Frankfurt, which preserve the largely unpublished photgraphic and written estate.

The accompanying book

On 304 pages and with 298 b/w and color illustrations, the accompanying book offers a well-founded insight into the multifaceted work of Abisag Tüllmann. The six thematic essays by Martha Caspers, Monika Haas, Barbara Lauterbach, Kristina Lowis, Katharina Sykora, and the biography compiled by Ulrike May are based on previously unknown written sources, private photographs, and numerous conversations with contemporary witnesses. The catalog book, published by Hatje Cantz Verlag and excellently printed, is a pioneering work. In the trade journal PHOTO international, Hans-Michael Koetzle confirmed: "Apart from the slim catalog from 1995, there has not been a single monograph on Abisag Tüllmann to date [...] Against this background, the present publication is nothing less than the very first historical-critical work on an artist who can certainly be counted among the most important representatives of German photography" (issue 02/2011, p. 22f).

The accompanying program

A special highlight of the accompanying program was the all-day event "Between Stillness and Movement – Abisag Tüllmann's Works for Film" on January 30, 2011 at Mal Seh'n Kino. In three large sequences, the films "Von der Schönheit des Alltäglichen. The Photographer Abisag Tüllmann," Germany 1966 by Carola Benninghoven, "Do Right and Shun No One – The Life of Gerda Siepenbrink," FRG 1975, by Jutta Brückner, "The All-Sided Reduced Personality – Redupers," FRG 1977, by Helke Sander and "The Trip to Lyon, FRG 1978-80" by Claudia von Alemann were shown. During the screenings, which were almost always sold out, the directors present gave vivid accounts of their collaboration with Abisag Tüllmann and her often not insignificant contributions to the film projects. The event and the catalog contribution by Monika Haas clearly crystallized the phothographer's hitherto completely unknown or unconsidered interest in film.
On March 2, 2011, Katharina Sykora, professor at the Braunschweig University of Fine Arts, presented in her lecture "Schauplatz Großstadt. Abisag Tüllmann's Frankfurt Views", she presented the photo book "Großstadt" in detail. She was able to clearly demonstrate the outstanding photographic and design modernity of the Frankfurt photo book by comparing it with publications of the same time, such as "Das Münchener Jahr" (1957) by Elisabeth Niggemeyer and "Wolfsburg – Bilder einer jungen Stadt" (1963) by Heinrich Heidersberger.

The finissage on March 27 was a croning conclusion to the last presentation in the "new building" from 1972 before its demolition. The invited guests, Prof. Jean Christophe Ammann, former director of the Museum of Modern ARt, the mayor Jutta Ebeling and the cellist Frank Wolff, vivdly presented their favorite Tüllmann photographs to the numerous visitors in short guided tours.

What follows and what remains?

The exhibition was shown from June 17 to September 18, 2011 at the Museum für Fotografie, Sammlung Fotografie der Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. A third follow-up exhibition is being planned.
Extensive new source material was researched as part of the project research. These written records, letters and photographs will be handed over by the Abisag Tüllmann Foundation, Frankfurt, to the Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz Berlin to complete the estate located there and thus made accessible for future research. The HMF itself received photographs and posters relating to Frankfurt for its own collection from the Abisag Tüllmann Foundation and from private collections.


Martha Caspers M.A. (Projektleitung)
Dr. Kristina Lowis, Barbara Lauterbach M.A., Ulrike May M.A.


exposition GbR, Frankfurt / M. – Martin Krämer und Sabine Gutjahr

Sponsors and Cooperation Partners

Abisag Tüllmann Stiftung, Frankfurt / M.
Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin 
Deutsches Theatermuseum, München 
Dr. Marschner Stiftung, Frankfurt / M.
Evonik Industries AG, Frankfurt / M.
Hessische Kulturstiftung, Wiesbaden 
Kulturamt Stadt Frankfurt / M.
Richard Stury Stiftung, München
Wüstenrot Stiftung, Ludwigsburg

Partners accompanying program

Mal Seh'n Kino 
Römer 9, Evangelische Stadtakademie
Zentralbibliothek Stadtbücherei Frankfurt am Main

accompanying book

Abisag Tüllmann 1936-1996. Bildreportagen und Theaterfotografie, 304 Seiten, 298 SW- und Farbabbildungen mit Texten von Martha Caspers, Monika Haas, Barbara Lauterbach, Kristina Lowis, Ulrike May, Katharina Sykora, hrsg. von Martha Caspers, erschienen als Bd. 30 der Schriften des historischen museums frankfurt, hrsg. von Jan Gerchow, Hatje Cantz Verlag, ISBN 978-3-7757-2708-2, Preis 29,80 €


In the exhibition "When Architects Can Dream. New Project Ideas for Frankfurt", eleven visions of Frankfurt architects were shown at the HMF, who freely designed their dream project independently of economic, planning law and political guideline. The HMF encouraged its visitors to dream together with the architects and to sketch their ideas of a different Frankfurt. A résumé.

The Rhein-Main-Zeitung, the regional section of the FAZ, had asked eleven renowned Frankfurt architectural firms to each produce a design that would not have to take into account budgets, laws, ownership structures, or even public opinion. In this experimental arrangement, no space was considered undevelopable, no existing building untouchable. It was not a question of a concrete program for Frankfurt; the exhibition was intended to show what is conceivable.

When visitors are allowed to dream

„I dream of a city in which everything is in motion and yet at rest within itself." What one visitor to the exhibition expressed poetically, other visitors formulated with concrete design wishes for the city. A city toll for a more bicycle-friendly city center, a speakers corner and a walk of fame for Frankfurt, lavender and roses for Goetheplatz, a drug-free Konstablerwache, the world's second-largest skyscraper, bathing islands in the Main River, a Viktualienmarkt for Frankfurt, hangig gardens or rooftop terraces on skyscrapers – these "dreams" are just a few examples of the more than 100 contributions made by visitors during the month-long exhibition.

Despite the complexity of the dreams outlined, one body of opinion can be discerned in the contributions: The city should be a green living space. Multiple mentions, such as a car-free city center, tunnels underneath for car traffic, the expansion of public transport, the revitalization of the Main riverbank, the creation of more parks, green spaces and squares with quality of stay testify to this. It is probably also this public spirit that is reflected in the visitor favorites of Frankfurt's architectural designs:
Visitors chose Stefan Forster's design as the clear favorite, which uses the example of Elbestraße in the Bahnhofsviertel to show what a traffic-calmed city greened by front gardens can look like. The second visitor favorite is the concept of the architect trio Ferdinand Heide, Thomas Meurer and Ingo Schrader, who envisage strengthening the Wallanlage as a public green space and increasing the density of the surrounding buildings. Third place is shared by three visions. The lido at the "Nice" by Albert Dietz and Annett-Maud Joppien, the summer pavilion on the banks of the Main at the height of the Wesel shipyard by the Scheffler/Menges office partnership, and the design of the B-levels, parking garages and subway stations by Till Schneider and Michael Schumacher.
The lively visitor interest in contributing their own ideas of a different Frankfurt and the high and discussion-oriented participation in the two panel events on September 15 and October 1 showed that a qualified debate was stimulated about what is possible and what is necessary. The HMF has sent an evaluation of the visitors' contributions to the city planning office.


Exactly 21,507 visitors were attracted to the exhibition "Strangers in Sight. Photo Albums from the Second World War" at the HMF. A well-attended framework program and two guest books filled with international entries rounded of this record number. What is special about the exhibition is that it presents a private pictorial history of the Second World War. The fact that this provides a different approach to Nazi history was summed up in the visitors' book by an Antwerp woman who now lives in the Taunus region: "Very impressive! The pictures and comments get under my skin more than official reports – thank you!"

The exhibition subject

Seventy years after the beginning of the war, the following generations are negotiating the estates and memories from the Second World War more intensively than ever. How do families deal with the often concealed photo archives, stored in closets and drawers? The exhibition "Strangers in Sight – Photo Albums from World War II" offers readings and perspectives for a deeper understanding of these photo archives. "The photographs in the exhibition show the German soldiers' views of foreign people, landscapes and cultural monuments in the occupied countries," says Dr. Petra Bopp, art historian and curator. "We examined both the motifs and the visual aesthetics of the photographs, as well as the influence of wartime propaganda on private and amateur photography."
In 1939, around ten percent of all Germans owned their own camera. Many soldiers willingly followed the call from the Ministry of Propaganda "not to let the camera rest even during the war". In addition to the field post letters, the snapshots of the soldiers were also intended to strengthen the bon between the front and the homeland. Families carefully preserved the pictures of the absent in their living rooms at home. Arrangement and commentary point to the subjective constructions of war memories. They make clear how the war was seen, not how it was. Many convolutions follow the historical course of the war.: The invasion of Poland in 1939, the "Blitzkrieg" on the Western Front in 1940, and the war of extermination in the East beginning in 1941. Significantly fewer photographs were taken during the retreat from 1943 to 1945. Only a few photographs of captivity in war have survived from British camps in North Africa and from Soviet camps.

In the beginning, the soldiers photographed camerawork and everyday military life in the barracks and proudly presented their first uniforms in professional sutdio portraits. In the occupied countries and at the front, the camera focused not only on the destruction of the Wehrmacht, but also on the fleeing civilian population and prisoners of war. Many photographs repeated the tourist gaze; at the same time, the view of the foreign was also shaped by racist Nazi image propaganda.
Thus, although the photographing soldiers did not show more authentic images of the front, they did show a more differentiated perspective than that of the "picture reporters" in the service of the propanganda companies, whose images dominated the official view of the war. The soldiers intensively exchanged their photos with each other, so that the albums reflect different perceptions of the war. Behing the snapshots, which at first seem harmless, uncertainty and fear, but also violence and destruction caused by combat appear. The individuality of the war narratives and personal fates often becomes apparent on the final album pages. Death, wounding, or capture cause the images to dry up abruptly, leaving blank pages. The group picture with the family symbolizes the return home, photos of comradeship meetings continue the war album into the 1950s.

 Exhibits and set-up of the exhibition

Original albums, black-and-white reproductions, and slide and film projections were presented on about 450 square meters of exhibition space in Frankfurt. Around 150 photo albums from private collections – on loan from former Wehrmacht soldiers and their relatives from northern Germany – as well as albums from museums and archives formed the basis of the exhibition. It was supplemented by albums and snapshots from the Photography Collection of the Munich City Museum. In the course of the research project conducted by curator Dr. Petra Bopp, which preceded provided information in detailed interviews about the motifs of the photos, the layout of the album, and the motivation for taking the photographs. Three of these interviews, as well as the reading of field letters, can be heard in media stations throughout the exhibition.
Twelve fully reproduced albums were available to the public for self-study at seated tables in the middle of the exhibition, which was set up as a tour – an offer that was very well received. A complementary room in Frankfurt focused on the way in which certain pictorial motifs spread and became standardized through buying and exchanging practices. It became clear that private albums from the Second World War were mostly a mixture of photos taken by various snapshooters, amateurs or even professional propaganda photographers.

Accompanying program

The topic of National Socialism poses problems for pedagogy time and again. It always touches the boundaries between the legal and the illegal, the morally desirable and the reprehensible, and it touches on the most diverse individual experiences, desires and fears. – Thus, the topic often leads to particularly emotional debates and remains an urgent topic of the present and thus of school and extracurricular education. The HMF was therefore very happy to accept the offer of cooperation from the Pedagogigcal Center – an institution of the Jewish Museum and the Fritz Bauer Institute. With its extensive experience, it wanted to participate in conveying the multi-layered contents of the exhibition.

The supporting program consisted of lecturers and talks, offered general and thematic tours of the exhibition as well as public tours in Russian for the first time. The film program, put together in cooperation with the Cinematography of the Holocaust at the Fritz Bauer Institute, was held at the cinema "Pupille. Cinema at the University." In the event room designed for the exhibition, a separate area was available for events with pupils and students. At Goethe University, a block seminar was held on the topic "Strangers in the Sight. Photogaphs as Sources for the History of World War II" by Dr. Jörg Osterloh and Gottfried Kößler.
Probably the most unusual series of events took place under the name "Your albums under the magnifying glass". Here, citizens could come to the museum with their photos and albums from the Second World War and have one-on-one conversations about them with employees of the museum and the Fritz Bauer Institute. Mostly the second generation of the daughters and sons of the war participants came to the museum, sometimes also the grandchildren, often as support of a process of confrontation of their parents with the family history and occaisionally contemporary witnesses were also guests – in total there were 80 individuals or families. "The fact that so many visitors took up this offer in particular shows how topical the subject of World War II still is in the family life of Germans," explains Petra Spona, historian and coordinator of the Frankfurt presentation of the traveling exhibition. She and her colleagues endeavored to answer the various questions about the origin of photos, the comparability of albums with others, the tasks of soldiers and possible complicity in the war, and research paths. In these conversations, the individual views of the soldiers and family memories should be the subject of discussion. They should complement the exhibition, through which above all the discrepancy between objective historical knowledge of German history and the often positively formed, subjective memory of fathers and grandfathers becomes clear and which offers th echance to convey both and thus to take an unusual path of learning.

Visitors make museum

New collection of the HMF
Many participants in these conversations about the albums had often only realized after the death of their father or grandfather that the albums were not only personal memories, but also valuable documents of contemporary history. 40 visitors donated their picture memories to the museum to preserve them for later generations. Through this collaboration between the museum and visitors, a separate collection of World War II photo albums of Frankfurt provenance was created during the exhibition period. "The many transfers to the museum show that awareness has grown that these private records are also valuable cultural assets worthy of preservation," Petra Spona sums up.

Due to the new collection, an unusual finissage could take place in the last exhibition week: The interns Christian Rödig and Natalie Wahnsiedler had arranged the received 22 albums, four sample albums, four large and ten small photo volumes, five books and five more extensive document collections in showcases for the Frankfurt public.
The spectrum of exhibits showing how Wehrmacht soldiers from Frankfurt experienced World War II was wide. One album, made of wood and covered with metal, was given to the commander of an armored regiment by his unit, another showed a fireman who had served in an air force fire unit during World War II, and a third small mat album was given to a woman by her beau who had been at the front. Sample albums of companies completed in several copies were also included, as well as a scrapbook with photos of Hitler. In addition, there were photos showing the everyday life of soldiers on duty and during the break in the fighting, but also photographing the victims of massacres.
On the last weekend, two outstanding donations were presented in a little more detail by the coordinator of the Frankfurt exhibition, Petra Spona. These were the guest book of a soldier's home in Florence, Italy, as an exceptionally rare object, and the photo collection of a Wehrmacht soldier who was deployed in the Ukraine in 1941/42, particularly in Lviv. He left behind very revealing and frightening photographic documents of the change from Soviet to German occupation of the district capital, inhabited mainly by Poles and Jews. The new collection is now available to researchers for further research.

Preservation of eyewitness experiences via documentary film interviews

During conversations about their albums, many visitors regretted that they could no longer ask their relatives today what they had experienced at the time. In order to preserve the memories of contemporary witnesses for posterity, the HMF and the Fritz Bauer Institue, with the support of Claus Withopf, lecturer in film/video at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach am Main, and his student film team, filmed interviews with four contemporary witnesses following the exhibition. In the meantime, two films have emerged from this.

Press reactions

The good response to the exhibition is also reflected in the intensive regional and national media coverage on radio and television, as well as in the feature pages of the FAZ, ZEIT, Spiegel and Svenska Dagbladet, a major Swedish daily newspaper..

Stations of the touring exhibition

Stadtmuseum Oldenburg: 20.06.2009 bis 13.09.2009
Münchner Stadtmuseum: 20.11.2009 bis 28.02.2010
historisches museum frankfurt: 14.04.2010 bis 29.08.2010
Stadtmuseum Jena: 24.09.2010 bis 30.01.2011
Kreismuseum Peine: 27.02.2911 bis 15.05.2011
Armeemuseum Delft/Niederlande: 27.04.2012 bis 29.07.2012
Joanneum Graz: 19.10.2012 bis 01.09.2013
More in planning

Accompanying books

Result of the research project: Petra Bopp, Fremde im Visier. Fotoalben aus dem Zweiten Weltkrieg, Kerber Verlag, Bielefeld 2009; 160 Seiten mit zahlreichen Abbildungen; 29, 80 € (available in bookstores, sold out at the museum)
Exhibition catalog: Petra Bopp, Sandra Starke, Fremde im Visier - Fotoalben aus dem Zweiten Weltkrieg, Broschüre zur Ausstellung, Kerber Verlag, Bielefeld 2009; 72 Seiten mit zahlreichen Abbildungen; 6,00 Euro

Cooperation partners and sponsors

The exhibition, conceived by Dr. Petra Bopp and Sandra Starke, is the result of a research project conducted by Dr. Petra Bopp at the Universites of Oldenburg and Jena. It was realized in cooperation between the Stadtmuseum Oldenburg, the Sammlung Fotografie im Münchner Stadtmuseum, the Stadtmuseum Jena and the HMF. The exhibition was made possible by the Foundation of Lower Saxony, the Lower Saxony Savings Bank Foundation in Hanover and the Landessparkasse zu Oldenburg, as well as CeWe Color in Oldeburg and D8 digital Lab in Munich. Sponsors of the Frankfurt presentation include the Historical-Archaeological Society and the Fazit Foundation from Frankfurt as well as the Alfred Töpfer Foundation F.V.S. from Hamburg. The extensive accompanying program was carried out together with the Fritz Bauer Institute, the Jewish Museum and Pupille – Kino an der Uni.


Dr. Petra Bopp, Sandra Starke
In cooperation with
Stadtmuseum Oldenburg
Sammlung Fotografie im Münchner Stadtmuseum
historisches museum frankfurt
JenaKultur Stadtmuseum

Exhibition coordination in Frankfurt

Dr. Petra Spona, HMF


Martin Krämer and Sabine Gutjahr, exposition GbR, Frankfurt am Main


The Alte Oper, the Palmengarten, the Frankfurter Hof or the Unity Monument on Paulsplatz: places in Frakfurt that everyone know. What is hardly known is that they would not exist without Leopold Sonnemann.

At best, he is known as the foundre of the Frankfurter Zeitung. Yet throughout his life he fought for a democratic modernity. For him, democratization and modernization were inseparable. The founding of his newspaper was exemplary for this, as was the International Electrotechnical Exhibition in Frankfurt in 1891, which he initiated.
National Socialism, World War II and the destruction of Frankfurt, however, caused a break in the tradition. The democrat and mentor Leopold Sonnemann fell into oblivion. However, his commitment as a publisher, democratic politician and patron of the arts had a decisive influence on Frankfurt's development into a modern metropolis. In cooperation with the Jewish Museum, the HMF showed Leopold Sonnemann's work in all its diversity for the first time. At the same time, visitors were presented with a lively panorama of Frankfurt in the 19th century on its way to becoming a European metropolis.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung noted, "If the people of Frankfurt don't recall their Sonnemann now, they can't be helped."

Made possible by

Frankfurter Societät

Media partner

Frankfurter Neue Presse


Ernst Max von Grunelius-Stiftung
Georg und Franziska Speyer'sche Hochschulstiftung
Stiftung Polytechnische Gesellschaft
Europäische Zentralbank


To recall the other, the unknown Heinrich Hoffmann on the occasion of his 200th birthday was the intention of the central exhibition of the Heinrich Hoffmann Summer 2009 in Frankfurt. Or, to put it in the words of one visitor: "Finally, the city has come up with the idea to honor the whole Heinrich Hoffmann." The show, then, focused on Hoffmann's multifaceted commitment to Frankfurt's civil society against the backdrop of his long life, from his childhood during the wars of liberation against Napoleon, through the revolution of 1848, to the German Empire under Wilhelm I.

Only here was the rarely show original manuscript of the most famous German children's book on display. But not only that: the exhibition also presented Hoffmann's multifaceted life's work, who was active as a mortuary attendant, obstetrician, doctor for the poor, and director of the "insane asylum" in his father city. As a founder and member of numerous political and literary associations and foundations, he also played a significant role in the social life of his hometown. The exhibition illustrated Hoffmann's fascinating life and offered a panorama of the Frankfurt bourgeoisie from the pre-March period to the Empire. A path with children's stations and an accompanying educatonal program made the exhibition an exciting experience for children and adults alike.

The structure of the exhibition

The exhibition was divided into six sections, four of which were predominantly biographical (Childhood in Frankfurt 1809-1828; Medical Studies 1828-1834; Doctor in Frankfurt 1834-1851; "Lunatic Asylum" at Affenstein 1851-1888) and two sections were devoted to overarching themes (Politics; Art – Literature – Children's Books).

Childhood in Frankfurt 1809-1828

Heinrich Hoffmann was born into an eventful time. The Napoleonic Wars and the subsequent reorganization of Europe did not leave Frankfurt unscathed. Growing up in this time, in which the striving for freedom and the longing for national unity collided with the restoration of political conditions, shaped Hoffmann's later political thinking.
Hoffmann's family was composed of two very different branches: The father had achieved social advancement from a modest artisan background to become an architect and municipal path and bridge builder. The mother, on the other hand, came from a wealthy wine merchant family. Hoffmann's grandfather Johann Heinrich Gerhard Lausberg owned an impressive collection of paintings: a highlight of the exhibition chapter was the painting "Paul and Barnabas are Worshipped as Gods in Lystra" by Adriaen van Stalbemt from the collection of Hoffmann's grandfather. The exhibition showed the political and social environment in which Heinrich Hoffmann grew up, and which was to shape him troughout his life. In addition, the everyday life of the pupil Heinrich Hoffmann was also illuminated: An original school report of Hoffmann reveals that he – probably due to his distinct imagaination and creativity – did not have an entirely easy time at school.


 Medical studies in Heidelberg, Halle and Paris (1829-1834)

In 1829, Heinrich Hoffmann made a momentous decision on the advice of his father: he went to Heidelberg to study medicine. This was followed by a doctorate in Halle and finally a practical year in Paris – at that time the center of medical research. During his time as a student, Hoffmann not only became acquanted with the leading physicians and their methods of diagnosis and healing – medical teaching aids of the time were on display in the exhibition – but also participated intensively in student life. Numerous objects from the student culture of the Vormärz period demonstrated the living environment of the students of the time. Throughout this time, Hoffmann maintained contact with his family in Frankfurt through a lively correspondence. Some of these letters and drawings were on display in the exhibition.

Physician in Frankfurt (1834-1851)

In Frankfurt, Hoffmann was given the position of mortuary attendant at the Sachsenhausen cemetery after his return. Morgues were intended to prevent mock dead people from being buried alive. At the same time, Hoffmann became involved in a newly established clinic for the poor, for which he also held regular consultations in Bornheim. In Sachsenhausen he ran a private practice and was active as an obstetrician. Doctor Hoffmann's practice sign was certainly one of the highlights of the department. But also on display was the birth certificate Hoffmann issued for his son Carl, for whom he would later draw and write the Struwwelpeter as a Christmas present.
The appointment as a teacher at the traditional Senckenberg Anatomy in 1844 finally meant a career leap. A dissecting table, specimens from the Senckenberg Anatomy as well as a model of the old Senckenbergianum, medical instruments of the time and, last but not least, Heinrich Hasselhorst's painting "Die Sektion" (The Dissection) impressively demonstrated the working environment of the physician Dr. Heinrich Hoffmann.


Art – Literature – Children's Book, an "Outlandisch Hobby"

Founding associations was a hobby of the "sociable unversal genius" and "networker" Heinrich Hoffmann, which was typical for the 19th century. In the Ärzteverein (1845), Frankfurt's physicians joined together for scientific instruction and promotion. The Bürgerverein (1848) served as a forum for the social rapprochement of all classes. The Tutti Frutti (1840-1845), like the Catacombs (1849-1851), brought together painters, poets and musicians for the mutual presentation of their artistic creations. It was also in this "creative workshop" that Struwwelpeter was first performed in public and its printing was encouraged. In addition, Hoffmann and his wife held their own salon in the official apartment in the insane asylum on the Affenstein, which was attended by many influential members of Frankfurt society and out-of-town guests.
The exhibition focused on Hoffmann's creative environment and thus took a new look at his own artistic work. In particular, the circle of the Tutti Frutti and Catacombs as well as Hoffmann's activity as administrator of the Städel thus came into focus. On display, for example, were the illustrated minute books of the Tutti Frutti and an illustrated novel that the club members collectively developed. Of course, this was also the place for the original manuscript of Struwwelpeter from 1844 as well as numerous drawings and manuscripts of Hoffmann's other children's books.


Politics — "Hark, my people!"

Hoffmann's political biography is typical of a large part of his generation in several respects: as a student and as a young doctor in Frankfurt, he was attached to the national idea and helped organize national celebrations, such as the first German Singers' Festival in 1838 or the Gutenberg celebration in 1840. The magnificently painted flag that the winegrowers carried with them at the four-hundredth anniversary of the invention of the art of printing is an attractive object in the exhibition. In addition, there were other testimonies of the political festive and association culture of the pre-March and the 1848 Revolution. Above all, they showed the process of communilization that political activities of that time meant.
In the 1848 period, Hoffmann became a deputy in the pre-parliament that prepared the first German National Parliament, but was disappointed by the Prussian king's rejection of the imperial crown. Hoffmann's involvement during this period was reflected in both pathetic songs and biting satirical writings, which were on display in the exhibition. In addition, his Struwwelpeter became one of the most popular figures of contemporary political satire; the exhibition also showed impressive examples of this. Hoffmann finally saw his political goals achieved in the annexation of Frankfurt by Prussia in 1866 and the unification of the German Reich in 1870/71.

Das "lunatic asylum" on the Affenstein

When Hoffmann was appointed director of the "Institution for the Insane and Epileptic" in 1851, he immediately set about realizing his life's mission: in an impressive campaign, he promoted a modern new building for the clinic on the Affenstein. Together with the architect Oskar Pichler, he undertook an extended study trip through several countries to learn about the latest findings in psychiatry and hospital construction and to apply them in Frankfurt – Hoffmann's and Pichler's preserved travel passports bear direct witness to this journey.
The Frankfurt asylum, built in the Gothic style, was opened in 1864 and was the largest building in the city at the time. Pichler's magnificently colored original design illustrates the dimension of this project, which Hoffmann had always considered his life's work. Hoffmann presided over the institution as director until his retirement in 1888. The exhibition allowed a glimpse into the everyday life of the patients by displaying therapeutic instruments of the time and making it possible to experience the medical histories of Hoffmann's patients by means of listening stations. In addition, relics found during excavations in 2008 on the grounds of the asylum were displayed.
„Hoffmann was famous... but I didn't know who he was”, wrote one of the exhibition visitors in the visitors' book. To many Frankfurtians and non-Frankfurters, Heinrich Hoffmann remained an unknown quantity, despite their childhood reading of Struwwelpeter. The exhibition in the summer of 2009 and the accompanying catalog book gave and still gives them ample opportunity to make closer acquaintance with this extraordinary Frankfurter.
The exhibition was a project of the Heinrich Hoffmann Summer 2009 and was kindly supported by the Stiftung Polytechnsiche Gesellschaft, Stiftung Flughafen Frankfurt/Main, Ernst Max von Grunelius Stiftung, Aventis Foundation, Cronstetten und Hynspergische Evangelische Stiftung zu Frankfurt am Main, 1822-Stiftung, Fazit-Stiftung, Historisch-Archäologische Gesellschaft Frankfurt am Main e.V., media partner Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Accompanying book

Heinrich Hoffmann – Peter Struwwel. Ein Frankfurter Leben 1809–1894. Hrsg. von Wolfgang P. Cilleßen und Jan Willem Huntebrinker, Michael Imhof Verlag 2009, 383 pages, over 250 ill.., Schriften des Historischen Museums, Bd. 28, 19,95 €


Exhibitions on women photographers are a fixed part of the program of the HMF. At the beginning of 2009, the series was excellently complemented with the acquisition of the retrospective Liselotte Strelow (19908-1981) from the LVR-Landesmuseum Bonn. On the occasion of Strelow's 100th birthday in 2008 and fittingly on the occasion of the 60th birthday of the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2009, the photographer, who had largely been forgotten, was introduced to a broad public.

After her training and initial studio successes as a photographer in Berlin during the Nazi era, Liselotte Strelow moved to the Rhineland after the Second World War. There, she consciously shaped her career as a professional photographer and photo artist of the young Federal Republic. Politicians, artists and actors from Germany and abroad as well as the elite of the German economic miracle sat for her. The presentation of 220 original portrait and theater photographs from the period 1942/43 to 1971 was supplemented by magazines, books and films that attracted particular attention. In the film series "Sagt die Fotografie die Wahrheit?" (Does photography speak the truth?, WDR, 1965-1967), Liselotte Strelow herself explains her working methods in great detail. The information provided by the selected sequences was taken up with great interest by many visitors, who were able to deal with the subject of the manipulation of photography, e.g. through retouching, directly on the original.
The accompanying program sought to trace the atmosphere of the "years of the economic miracle," a period that Liselotte Strelow helped to shape. In cooperation with the HMF, the Deutsches Filmmuseum offered a film series. In the exciting reading "Nach den Tagen des Zorns" (After the Days of Wrath), Barbara Englert and pianist Jacob Bussmann combined works by the female poets and composers portrayed by Strelow. The event on International Women's Day, conceived in cooperation with the Frankfurt Women's Department, was a complete success. Like the photographs of those portrayed by Strelow, it vividly revealed the continuities and contradictions of the post-war period in West Germany.

An exhibition in cooperation with the LVR LandesMuseum Bonn and the Gesellschaft Photo Archiv e.V. Bonn.


With this exhibition, the HMF revitalized a tradition that had been part of the museum's trademark until the early 1980s: the large contemporary HMF exhibition. Younger visitors were quite surprised to discover that the HMF was also a theme, and that the conceptual change in the early 1970s was part of the effect of the "short summer". Part of the newness was the contemporary history exhibition and the goal of having the permanent exhibition end in the present as well.

The question often asked during the months of the '68 run: "Do the '68ers belong in the museum?" is answered with "No" if museumization is equated with "loss of relevance." The clear "yes" as an answer includes a no less clear "yes" to the historical museum as a mediator of past and present. "Into the museum" does not mean the end of the line. "Into the museum" is a condition for discourse about the 40 years between that eventful and moving year and today in the medium of an exhibition.
The visitors' books of the exhibition offer 380 pages of entries with evaluations of the exhibition. Well over 90% are positive. Often the age, the affiliation to the generation of the 68ers or to the generation of the post-born can be inferred. Also the self-assessment as "68er" (or not) can be read again and again. The positive evaluation of the exhibition does not correlate with age and self-assessment. This observation is interesting in relation to the conception of the exhibition. Developed by "post-born" curators, it excluded the evocation of a myth of "68" or a conception from the point of view of the avant-garde, as well as the attempt at a definition or pinpoint interpretations of the effect. Since visitor criticism of a lack of mythologization or heroization remains isolated, the praise of the aforementioned percentage of writing visitors can be related to the exhibition conception.

"Very good exhibition even for non-68ers" writes a visitor who witnessed the period. "...What moved my parents and how it still affects them today," writes a student. According their own information, visitors were in the exhibition for up to seven hours and wanted to come again or visited the exhibition for the third time. One entry wishes for "several 100,000 visitors," while another visitor writes, "This presentation needs to go all over the world." A visitor from the USA, who introduces himself as George, shares: "Very informative and eye-opening. I only had one day here at your fantastic exhibition. Thank you very much." Foreign visitors came from the USA, England, Japan, Taiwan, Spain, Italy and Switzerland. The multi-media nature of the exhibition was rated positively across the board. The virtual discussion, which introduced the exhibition, also met with emphatic approval. Not necessarily nostalgic are recurring entries by young visitors comparing "the eventful times" with today. Recurring attributions are "exciting" and "insightful."
Finally, since the meaning of "68" is controversially discussed in the public, it is noticeable that the entries that directly comment on "68" are significantly fewer in number than the exhibitio comments. The exhibition is a medium with its own laws. In museum discourse, it is disputed whether every topic can be exhibited. On the other hand, it is certain that with the choice of the medium "exhibition", the topic is given a special cut. An exhibition offers a discourse with images and things. If it "promotes knowledge", it has achieved a goal. "It can also be "exciting" and, as one visitor commented, "true to life".
The exhibition "The 68ers. Short summer – long effect" has been well received by the public.


The scientific exploration of Jan Mayen began with the Frankfurt North Voyge of Georg Berna in 1861. In 1865, Frankfurt was the cradle of German polar research. Here Alfred Wegener presented the theory of continental drift for the first time in 1912. In the 70 years between 1861 and 1931, there were more than ten expeditions to Jan Mayen, Greenland, Emperor Franz Josef's Land and Spitsbergen with significant participation of researchers who were at home in Frankfurt and Hesse.

An exhibition on the fourth International Polar Year from March 1, 2007 to March 1, 2009. The tradition of the Polar Years was founded in 1882/1883 by Carl Weyprecht and continued for the second time in 1932/1933 by Johannes Georgi. The third Polar Year 1957/1958 was at the same time the International Geophysical Year, when the Soviet Union succeeded for the first time to advance into space. The preoccupation with the Frankfurt aspect of Arctic exploration goes back to a book manuscript by the Frankfurt polar explorer Theodor Lerner (1866-1931). The exhibition was organized in close cooperation with the Senckenberg Natural History Museum, the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven and the German Society for Polar Research. On display were globes, maps and nautical instruments, equipment of the polar voyagers, fauna and minerals of the Arctic, letters, documents and expedition works, oil paintings and pictures of the North and the northern voyagers, short films about some ventures, sounds of animals and ice.

Accompanying catalog

Frankfurt und der Nordpol. Forscher und Entdecker im ewigen Eis.
Von Frank Berger (Hg.). Frankfurt 2007, Schriften des Historischen Museums, Bd. 26. 26,50 €


Innovative, entrepreneurial, creative and feisty – Frankfurt women around 1800 were remarkably active and ambitious. The reason for this exhibition was to commemorate them and to anchor them in the collective memory of the city's society.

The exhibition focused on an epoch that, more than almost any other, presents such a wide variety of female lifestyles. That is why it is also called the "Century of Women". Few other German cities could immediately come up with as many well-known women of the 1th century as Frankfurt. But the exhibition also presents women who have rarely been brought to light. They were all remarkably active and ambitious in their respective contexts of work and life. The change of perspective from the male to the female half of Frankfurt's bourgeoisie leads to the convincing insight that a city did not "function" without women even before the dawn of modernity.
Women artists and writers, collectors and philanthropists, master craftswomen and merchants worked in the family circle and asserted their economic existence against male competition. Frankfurt women bore social responsibility and were active in the public life of the city. The motives for this exhibition were to report on their living conditions, to trace their footsteps and to reintroduce their achievements into the cultural memory of this city.
The presentation also explored the question of what was visible or invisible in the social, economic and cultural practices of women merchants, craftswomen or servants, thus opening up surprising perspectives and insights into hitherto hidden scopes of action.
The exhibition, accompanying volume, media stations and an extensive accompanying program were supported by the Women's Department of the City of Frankfurt, the Cronstett- and Hynsperg Evangelical Foundation, the Polytechnic Society Foundation, the Ernst Max von Grunelius Foundation, and the Historical-Archaeological Society.

A website was created for the exhibition, which is still being expanded by the scientist Ursula Kern. She is the curator of the exhibition and has continued her intensive research work after retiring from active service at the HMF. You can get to the website with a klick here: www.frankfurterfrauenzimmer.de


Since the end of the 1990s, the topic of migration has been present in various projects of the HMF and represents a focal point in the educational work. Between 2004 and 2011, the permanent presentation of the history of migration in Frankfurt helped to send a signal to the current and widespread migration society and to understand migration as part of the city's history.

There is actually no such thing as a typical Frankfurter, since many Frankfurt residents are not descended from long-established families. In 2004, Frankfurt's 650.000 inhabitants belonged to 185 different nationalities; almost every third inhabitant had no German citizenship.
"From Strangers to Frankfurters" aimed to raise awareness of immigration to Frankfurt and the coexistence of Frankfurt residents and immigrants as well as their integration into urban society in the past and present. On the historical side, for example, the focus was on the mgiratory movements of religious refugees in earlier centuries who found a place of refuge in Frankfurt and thus contributed to the growth of Frankfurt's population.

In the 20th century, it was primarily political and economic reasons that brought many people to Frankfurt as expellees, displaced persons, refugees from the Republic or as so-called guest workers. Their lives, living and working situations were the subject of the exhibition. The focus was also on associations that provided support and are still active today, for example in reintegrating migrant women into the work process or helping women who have fallen into prostitution.
While the topics of the first part of the exhibition were conveyed on large panels with pictures and texts, the second part of the exhibition primarily featured objects of memory, supplemented by interviews with contemporary witnesses. Exhibits such as photographs, posters, employment contracts or personal mementos provided insights into various life and work situations.
The exhibition also provided space for the "Meeting Place of Cultures" and the "Migration Gallery". Over the years, an extensive supporting program with readings, discussion evenings or smaller exhibitions took place here, which was supported by numerous cooperation partners (e.g. Internationales Familienzentrum e.V., Caritas Stadtmitte or the JBS Anne Frank).
In the course of the new conception from a specialized museum to a city museum of the Main metropolis, which presents Frankfurt both in its historical significance and with its current topics, the conception of migration also changed. Currently, we see migration as a cross-cutting theme and as part of the cultural diversity whose traces we follow in history and the present. It is therefore fortunate that some of the objects from the exhibition "From Strangers to Frankfurters" could be incorporated into the collection.
"From Strangers to Frankfurters" was created in cooperation with the Office for Multicultural Affairs, the Museum of World Cultures and with the support of the Gemeinnützige Hertie-Stiftung.
Curator: Roland Hoede M.A. / Terra Incognita e.V.
Supporting program: Wolf von Wolzogen