Night at the Museum

Christine June
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

***image1*** Just when Lisa Bergman thought her group had seen everything at the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum, there was another room full of things to see.

“It’s amazing. There’s so much to see,” said Ms. Bergman, a program assistant with the Kapaun School Age Program, who helped escort 18 children.

Located on the outskirts of Frankfurt, the Senckenberg museum is celebrating 100 years of existence. The research institute has been around a bit longer − it was established in 1904.

The Senckenberg Nature Research Society is responsible for the Research Institute and the Natural History Museum. New findings in all areas of biology, paleontology and geology are constantly added to the museum’s already full collection.

Numerous exhibits show visitors the range of organisms present in any given ecological community or system and even the evolution of some of these organisms.

Animal skeletons – many exotic and some rare – from the time of dinosaurs to the present are displayed in fascinating exhibits that capture the attention of children of all ages. A 19-century collection of exotic animals from around the world shows just how long the museum has been informing the public.
Three floors in the recently renovated, majestic building have mummies, fish, birds, prehistoric to modern plant life, fetal development and exhibits on the evolution of man.

Many of these exhibits have English explanations and some have touch-screen computers that provide even more information. There are also several interactive games at several of the exhibits.

***image2***Dinosaurs and these interactive games are why the 435th Services Squadron chose the museum as one of the summer field trips for its school-age programs, said Kristie Nemechek, Kapaun’s assistant coordinator.
“Last year was the first time we went to Senckenberg, and it was a huge success with the children,” said Ms. Nemechek. “And, it was an overwhelming ‘yes’ from the children to come back.”

Visitors can discover the universe with a light-up solar system and earth’s core. They can learn about the changes of planet earth over millions of years, such as weather conditions, water cycles and volcanoes. A model of the Mayon Volcano on the island of Luzon in the Philippines actually smokes and lights up. And, visitors can dive into ancient history with such exhibits as the Egyptian mummies. 

As if all of this is not enough to see, the museum also hosts temporary exhibits throughout the year. Currently, an exhibit on Elisabeth Schultz (1817-1898); The Flower-Painter from Frankfurt is on display until Aug. 19 on the first floor.

The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday; and, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit the museum’s official Web site at

For navigational systems or global maps, the address is: Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt am Main.