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Anti-racism work at the HMF

Frankfurt against racism
A campaign to combat racism and right-wing extremism

Together with well over 50 cultural institutions and artists in Frankfurt, the Historisches Museum Frankfurt is one of the first signatories of the "Frankfurt Declaration of the Many" and has thus spoken out against racism, homophobia and transphobia, misogyny, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. With this declaration, it emphasizes the importance of democratic and artistic freedom and plurality.

Guiding principle

With its new conception, the museum developed its guiding principle: multiperspectivity, diversity and inclusion are of central significance in it, and the representation and empowerment of minorities is an important concern. The diversity of the city society is to be reflected in exhibitions, collections and outreach. With Frankfurt Now! and the CityLab, the museum has created a participatory exhibition format and invites the people of Frankfurt to help shape the museum, set themes and develop exhibitions. The museum shares its interpretive sovereignty, it becomes multi-perspective and allows for subjective positions.
Click here for the museum's guiding principle.

Young Museum

In its exhibitions, the Junges Museum Frankfurt links up with the lifeworld of young visitors, strengthens them in their rights and encourages them to ask questions and find their own place in the world. Exemplary are the exhibitions " Kinder haben Rechte!" (4/2017 - 1/2018), "OPPOSED!AGREED?Revolution.Making.History." (10/2018 - 3/2020) and "Childhood and youth during National Socialism" (in planning, 12/2021-3/2023). In cooperation with the Frankfurt Program - Active Neighborhood and the Youth Education Center, the open offer "Young Museum on the Road" has been bringing current exhibition topics to numerous neighborhoods since 1999.

The Historisches Museum and the Junges Museum are cooperation partners of Places to See (Kulturamt), Kultüröffner (Amka) and Aktive Nachbarschaft (Dezernat Jugend und Soziales).
Click here to access the website of the Junges Museum Frankfurt.

 

CityLab

The CityLab is a participatory and present-oriented exhibition and event format that has been around since 2010. CityLab projects are developed in close cooperation between the museum and the project participants. At exhibitions and events, social phenomena are addressed on the basis of subjective experiences. The representation of marginalized groups is a central concern. Implementing migration history as part of German history is one of the strategies pursued in the CityLab.

I Spy with My Little Eye. Racism. Resistance. Empowerment (9/2020 - 2/2021): CityLab exhibition with with a multifaceted supporting program and symposium.
The CityLab exhibition is dedicated to the various forms of racism and their effects on those affected. It also showcases how people resist and what strengthens them. Personal experiences of racism, postcolonial issues as well as resistance movements and empowerment strategies are highlighted. The exhibition also looks at German colonial history, its perpetuation and asks some uncomfortable questions about the present. In doing so, it addresses social recognition, i.e. visibility and making visible, speaking and being heard, and critical self-reflection.
The supporting program of the exhibition is also dedicated to the core issues of racism, resistance and empowerment. There will be panel discussions, storytelling, city tours and performances. It primarily gives people who experience racism a platform to share their perspectives and realities of life. The exhibition ends with a symposium on empowerment sharing. The conference offers spaces for input, reflection and exchange for a present in solidarity and critical of racism.
You can find the CityLab here.


 

Provenance research

The HMF has been researching the provenance of its collections since 2010. This is based on the Washington Declaration of December 3, 1998, i.e. the "Principles of the Washington Conference Concerning Works of Art Seized by the National Socialists". Germany has thus also committed itself to conscientiously examining and implementing restitution or compensation for collection items seized as a result of Nazi persecution. The background of most of the expropriations by German authorities during the NS were racist laws or actions. With this research, which is also conducted without concrete demands for restitution, the museum is simultaneously committed to coming to terms with its own history in a way that is critical of racism.
More information on provenance research at the HMF can be found here.

Programme 360°

The museum takes part in the 360° programme of the Federal Cultural Foundation: For a period of four years, the position of an agent was established as an interface between the museum and the diverse city society. Two people share this task. They develop a sustainable basis for the museum's work, upon which the highly diverse city society can find itself reflected throughout the museum. This refers to the exhibition and event programme, the networking between the public and the staff, as well as the training of the museum staff on topics critical of racism. The two agents thus support the museum in its internal and external diversification. The development of a discrimination-sensitive approach to language and the representation of minorities as well as a critical examination of the collections play a role here. Currently, the diversity agents are working together with various migrant and activist initiatives of Frankfurt on the participatory CityLab exhibition entitled "I Spy with My Little Eye.
Racism, Resistance and Empowerment".
Click here to visit the HMF's "Awards" page, including the funding programme 360° ─ Fund for New City Cultures.

Tourguides

On the basis of several tourguides, visitors can delve into various topics along an approximately 90-minute tour of the HMF: The tour "Frankfurt 1933-45" leads to exhibitions in the HMF that are linked to the National Socialist era, with a focus here on the permanent exhibition "Frankfurt Once?". The thematic booklet "Frankfurt on the Move. A City with a Migration Background" leads to stations in the HMF that reveal that Frankfurt has always been characterized by migration since the 12th century and up to the present day.
Click here for the tourguides, which are also available for download.

Multimedia guide

In its multimedia guide (WebApp), the HMF not only offers contributions developed by the curators for usage in the museum. Various tours also offer visitors diverse perspectives on the city and its history: In the tour "Multiperspectivity in the museum," nine refugee academics and six students from Goethe University Frankfurt tell unusual stories about historical museum objects. They placed their own professional and personal interests at the center of their reflections. As a result, 17 creative narratives have been produced that at times are critical, at times amusing, and at times touching with their intensity.
The "Museum inklusiv" tour was developed in a joint project with the Praunheimer Werkstätten. Ten people with intellectual disabilities researched eleven exhibits, wrote texts, developed presentations and stood in front of the camera.
Both projects were also about giving people from marginalized groups a voice in the public sphere.
Click here for the HMF's multimedia guide.

Intervention trail

Creation of an intervention trail through the permanent exhibition on the topic of racism and colonial continuities: In the course of the CityLab exhibition "I Spy with My Little Eye. Racism, Resistance and Empowerment" the permanent exhibition will be critically examined as well. Postcolonial questions are used to illuminate the colonial continuities in the Historisches Museum. The intervention trail questions existing narratives, sets accents and breaks with dominant patterns of thought, language and vision. The focus is not only on what is presented and what is missing, but also on why and how something is exhibited.

Library of Generations

The Library of Generations is an artistic, intergenerational memory project by Sigrid Sigurdsson. Contributions from individuals, groups and initiatives are collected over 105 years. The project should be a medium to overcome the silence in relation to the NS, to enable a mediatized dialogue between generations. Many contributions come from contemporary witnesses or from "trace seekers". In recent years, attention has been given to the integration of migrant and marginalized positions when recruiting new participants.
Click here to find out more about the Library of Generations.

Student Workshop "Young People in Frankfurt during the National Socialist Era"

The students' workshop "Young People in Frankfurt during the Nazi Era": Five Frankfurt life stories show very different internal views of a youth during the Nazi era. Using original reports and exhibition objects, the students approach these different life worlds independently in small groups. Different perspectives are adopted and areas of discussion are opened up. The arc is also drawn to the present and explores the question of how and why we deal with the topic of National Socialism today.

Representation of Black People in Exhibitions

As part of a research internship, an intern investigated the representation of Black people in paintings in the HMF exhibition. So far, two paintings (16th-18th century) have been studied: "Das Mainufer am Fahrtor" (1757) by F. W. Hirt and "Eine reich gekleidete Dame am Fenster mit schwarzem Pagen" by Caspar Netscher (second half of the 17th century, in Morgenstern's Miniaturkabinett III). The focus was on the question where and in which context Black people are visible. The examination is to be continued.

Project week "City of Diversity"

The HMF is involved in the project "Frankfurt - City of Diversity", which various historical institutions and museums in Frankfurt offer each school year for several school classes. Along various modules in the institutions, which are individually arranged for the learning groups, the focus is on questions such as: What did migration mean to people in earlier times? And how did these migrations shape the history of Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main region? The historical institutions and museums of the city of Frankfurt invite you to research the migration of people, objects and ideas.

Student Workshop "Cocoa, chocolate, coffee and co.... What does all this have to do with us? On the trail of colonial goods".

Student Workshop "Cocoa, chocolate, coffee and co.... What does all this have to do with us? On the trail of colonial goods" (AT): A multi-perspective workshop for secondary school students is currently being developed for the colonial goods store of the Junges Museum. Starting from goods and trade chains in colonialism, the workshop will build a bridge to the production and trade conditions of the present.

Exhibition Project 2021: Frankfurt and the NS

Exhibition project 2021: Frankfurt and National Socialism: special exhibition, CityLab and JuM exhibition.

The HMF is planning an exemplary exhibition project for 2021/23: the history of Frankfurt and National Socialism will be researched and presented for a broad audience in three different formats. From October 2021 to July 2022, the exhibition "Eine Stadt macht mit - Frankfurt und der Nationalsozialismus" (A city joins in - Frankfurt and National Socialism) in the large special exhibition room of the new building (900 square meters) will take a comprehensive look at Nazi injustice with its pre- and post-history in the Main metropolis. From November 2021 to May 2022, a CityLab exhibition covering 600 square meters will examine the memory of National Socialism under the current conditions of diverse society. And the Young Museum in the HMF (200 sqm) is dedicated to childhood and youth under National Socialism from December 2021 to March 2023 and provides insight into mentalities, social structures and subjective worlds of experience of the time. The exhibition aims to encourage visitors to examine their own family history and the importance of remembering, as well as to reflect on their own scope for action in situations of exclusion and discrimination.
Click here for a preview of the exhibition "Frankfurt and the NS".