The History of Senckenbergmuseum


In 1815 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe had the idea of establishing a “Naturmuseum” and a library to publish results of scientific research in the natural sciences. As a consequence, the “Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft” was founded in 1817 by 17dedicated and well-known citizens of Frankfurt which led to the opening of the “Museum Senckenbergianum”in 1821. It was named after a medical doctor, Johann Christian Senckenberg (1707-1772), who had undertaken the first steps to unite small research groups of natural scientists in Frankfurt. The museum achieved world fame within the first decade of its existence.

In 1907 the museum moved into a building situated on what was to become the campus of J.W.Goethe University (University of Frankfurt) in 1914. Some of the university institutes were founded by the “Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft”, among them the Institute of Geology, Mineralogy, Botany and Zoology.

The Senckenberg of today is a research institute for the natural sciences, which operates the museum, strictly following the wish of Goethe, who had always maintained that natural science must be presented to the public.