Museum Embankment Walk, Frankfurt

Museum Embankment Walk (Self Guided), Frankfurt

Frankfurt is a city rich in art and history as well as museums for celebrating them. The embankment to the south of the Main River is called Museumsufer or Museum Embankment because of the high concentration of museums. Here you will find both permanent and temporary exhibitions, but regardless of where you visit, you will not regret the time spent inside a museum or two in Frankfurt.
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Museum Embankment Walk Map

Guide Name: Museum Embankment Walk
Guide Location: Germany » Frankfurt (See other walking tours in Frankfurt)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Author: helenp
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Icon Museum
  • Museum Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Art)
  • Museum der Weltkulturen (Museum of World Cultures)
  • Deutsches Filmmuseum (German Film Museum)
  • Deutsches Architekturmuseum (German Architecture Museum)
  • Communication Museum (Museum für Kommunikation)
  • Städel Art Museum
  • Liebieghaus
  • Museum Giersch
Icon Museum

1) Icon Museum

The Icon Museum, located in an old refectory of the Teutonic Knights who fought the Crusades, is a small but significant repository with one of the largest collections of icons in the world.

The Icon museum lies at the eastern end of the Museum Embankment in Frankfurt. The old refectory was redesigned by Cologne based architect Oswald Mathias Ungers with modern and clearly contoured rooms to display the magnificence of these religious wooden paintings. The permanent exhibits were a gift from a physician from Konigstein, Dr. Jorgen Schmidt-Voigt consisting of 800 valuable icons. The museum has expanded its collection and now has over 1000 exhibits. Another permanent donation of post Byzantine icons came from the State Museum of Prussian Cultural Heritage, Berlin.

The collection has icons from all parts of the world where the Eastern Orthodox Christian faith flourishes. There are icons from Russia, Egypt, Syria and Ethiopia. Most of them are from the 15th to the 20th century. A treasured exhibit is a 12th century Egyptian Coptic paper icon. Besides icons the museum has other objects like crucifixes, religious robes and liturgical items. Works by famous icon artists like Emmanuel Tzanes, Michail Milutin and Yussuf Al Mussawir form part of the collection.

The Icon Museum is open from Tuesdays to Sundays and guided tours are provided for the convenience of visitors.

Hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00-17:00; Wednesday: 10:00-20:00
Museum Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Art)

2) Museum Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Art)

The Museum of Applied Arts or MAK, the acronym of the German Museum Angewandte Kunst, is a repository of arts and crafts that have a utilitarian purpose. The museum, located at Schaumainkai 17 in Frankfurt has more than 30,000 objects of European and Asian decorative arts.

The MAK was initially a crafts museum founded in 1877 by the Central German Handicrafts Association and was the storehouse of objects belonging to over 50 private collectors. The building suffered severe damage during the two World Wars but the collection was carefully preserved for the benefit of future generations. After the wars, the collections were housed in different institutions like a Carmelite Convent until they found a home in the Villa Metzler. The efforts of the present director Annaliese Ohm resulted in the construction of the new building that houses the Applied Arts Museum today. The MAK building was designed by American architect Richard Meier.

Exhibits at the museum include Chinese Lacquer, art deco artifacts and modern collections of applied arts and crafts. Originally the museum featured furniture, glassware, and ceramics. Product design and information design related exhibits are the recent additions to the MAK collections. The facility also has an impressive library with books by leading experts in the subject of applied arts.

Why You Should Visit:
Great place to check out if you're interested in industrial and product design.
The building itself is pretty impressive – space & daylight work well together.

With a Museumsufer ticket you get free access to over 30 museums for 48 hrs, this one included!

Opening Hours:
Tue, Thu-Sun: 10am-6pm; Wed: 10am-8pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Museum der Weltkulturen (Museum of World Cultures)

3) Museum der Weltkulturen (Museum of World Cultures)

Until 2001, this museum was known as the Frankfurt Museum of Ethnology. The building is a repository of arts, crafts, and relics from indigenous cultures from all over the world.

Three adjacent villas in the museum embankment of Frankfurt form the building that houses this repository of indigenous culture and art. The museum was founded in 1904 to promote a better understanding of aboriginal cultures and ways of life and teaching acceptance of differences and understanding of common traits among ethnological groups around the world. The building also houses a vast library with over 40,000 books and journals on ethnography. Collections include vessels, masks, ritual objects, jewelry and other objects crafted by indigenous groups from Asia, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. Contemporary works of aboriginal artists from India, Oceania, Africa, and Indonesia are also on view.

The museum offers guided tours, lectures, interaction with indigenous artists and workshops. In one section, children of all ages are allowed to touch and try the exhibits and learn to be creative while playing with them.

Why You Should Visit:
This is the 21st-century version of what used to be called Anthropology, now thought of as a little patronizing and colonial.
However, it draws of that heritage and the amazing, truly wonderful ethnological and "anthropological" collections & research.

Don't forget to check out the library! You can spend a day there.
Afterward, you can decide if you want to take a walk along the riverside, which you can follow many kilometers!

Opening Hours:
Tue, Thu-Sun: 11am-6pm; Wed: 11am-8pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Deutsches Filmmuseum (German Film Museum)

4) Deutsches Filmmuseum (German Film Museum) (must see)

On the south bank of River Main is the 'Museumsufer', the name of a landscape of museums in Frankfurt. Among these, the German Film Museum, founded in 1949, is the oldest film repository in West Germany.

The German Film Museum is a celebration of the most original art form of the 20th century. There are five permanent exhibits portraying the history of film from the Camera Obscura to the work of the Lumiere Brothers. Other sections showcase the language of film and sound in relation to movies. The museum allows visitors to go behind the scenes and view how movies are made. These exhibits include replica studios, background sounds and effects, special effects and artistic developments used in modern cinematography.

Visitors can browse the vast archives that preserve old films, cameras and a wealth of objects that relate to cinema production and technology; they can take part in a car chase or fly in a magic carpet courtesy of the trick technology used in movies. The museum also holds changing exhibitions and themes related to German cinema and has a large library that is open to the public. The on-site movie theatre that screens old and classic pictures is accessible via a separate entrance.

Why You Should Visit:
The 2nd floor – the one exploring how movies are made – is fascinating, especially since there are lots of displays where you get to play around with various effects.
The exhibits – including an amazing collection of original vintage film cameras! – have English guides so no worries if you aren't fluent in the Deutsch language.

Make sure you see the special/temporary exhibit during your visit, whatever it may be (for a small extra fee).
There's a very sleek café in the lobby filled with other movie fans with whom you can start up a conversation.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Thu, Sat-Sun: 10am–6pm; Fri: 10am–8pm
Open Filmstudion: Sat, Sun: 2–6pm
Deutsches Architekturmuseum (German Architecture Museum)

5) Deutsches Architekturmuseum (German Architecture Museum)

Opened in 1984, the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) focuses on building and layout technology. It is located on the banks of the River Main and forms part of the 'Museumsufer'. Structurally speaking, however, the DAM forms part of a completely gutted 18th-century villa. Oswald Mathias Unger, a leading Cologne-based German architect, planned a series of elemental platonic structures within the gutted shell, thus giving the building a unique design.

The museum has over 180,000 architectural drawings and 600 architectural models including classic designs by architects such as Erich Mendelsohn, Mies van der Rohe, and Frank O’Gehry. Furthermore, it has its own permanent exhibition of treasures and visitors can view the history of architecture from the prehistoric hut to the skyscraper. It is also an exhibition hall for temporary programs showcasing German and international exhibits relating to contemporary architecture, architectural history, and urban planning.

The DAM has a large library with over 25,000 architecture-related reference books and magazines. Programs for children and young people are held, including workshops and guided tours for visitors – the latter available on weekends.

Why You Should Visit:
Informative and well lit, with all info screens in German & English.
What you think of it will depend on the (rotating) exhibit at the time.
If you have a museum pass, this is certainly worth checking out.

If you have kids, it is worth taking them to the LEGO construction site (if available).

Opening Hours:
Tue, Thu-Sun: 10am–6pm; Wed: 10am–8pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Communication Museum (Museum für Kommunikation)

6) Communication Museum (Museum für Kommunikation)

The history and the story of communication are told through the exhibits in this museum located on the banks of the River Main in Frankfurt. The interactive gallery showcasing the postal and communications evolution, ranks third among the favorite museums of visitors to the city.

The idea of a communications museum was first conceived in the 19th century by Heinrich von Stephan. He established an art museum devoted to postal communication in Berlin. After the division of Germany, a new postal museum was opened at a villa on the banks of the River Main in 1958. In 1990 a modern building was constructed with a glass façade and a three floor open plan and the old villa became the administrative office of the new communications museum.

Exhibits at the museum include the history of communications from Sumerian tablets to the modern electronic communication devices. Early telephones, televisions, receivers and fax machines are on display. Unique art and sculpture relating to communications including telephone sheep created by Jean Luc Cornec made using telephone wires and telephones make interesting exhibits on view at the museum. Two permanent exhibits are the Titanic telegram that reached too late to save the sinking ship and Orson Welles radio play, The War of the Worlds that caused panic in the 30s in the US.

The museum also holds several unique communications related temporary exhibits to hold the interest of visitors especially children all year through.

Hours: Tuesday-Friday: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm; Saturday-Sunday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Städel Art Museum

7) Städel Art Museum (must see)

As the first museum to open on the banks of the River Main, the Städel has a vast collection of masterpieces spanning 7 centuries. Paintings featured at the galleries include works of well-known artists from the 14th century to the present. The Städel Institute is devoted to teaching and encouraging local artists.

The Städel Museum was established in 1816 by prominent Frankfurt banker Johann Friedrich Städel to house his vast collection of art. Städel donated the collection and his house to the city. In 1878 a new large building in the German Grunderzeit style was constructed by architect Oskar Sommer as a repository for the subsequent art collections acquired by the museum.

The collection of art at the museum includes Flemish primitives, Impressionists, Post Modernists, works of the 17th and 18th century Dutch and German masters, 19th-century romanticist French and German paintings and works form later art movements like cubism, impressionism and expressionism. Modern pieces include the works of Bacon, Dubuffet and Yves Klein. Treasures at the gallery include the painting of Goethe in the Italian countryside by Tischbein, 'The Geographer' by Johannes Vermeer and the 'Lucca Madonna' by Jan van Eyck. The building also has a large library with a range of art books and periodicals.

Why You Should Visit:
Based on ease of access and the permanent exhibits (including not just modern and some contemporary art, but also items going back a very long time), quite a terrific museum.
It is large and you can easily spend hours and hours here. The presentation is spacious and generally well-lit while the staff are friendly and helpful.

Come early to enjoy the quietness of the place.
Consider downloading the museum's app on your phone, as it gives a great insight into much of the artwork.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Wed, Sat, Sun: 10am–6pm; Thu, Fri: 10am–9pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

8) Liebieghaus

The city of Frankfurt obtained this palatial mansion to house the sculpture museum in 1908. Liebieghaus, the home of Baron Heinrich von Liebieg stands on the banks of the River Main near Frankfurt's other major museums.

Well-known architect Leonhard Romies was commissioned to build a retirement home for Bohemian textile magnate Baron Liebieg between 1892-96. The structure has a confluence of styles, influenced by the study tours around Europe undertaken by its builder. The design has elements of Bamberg renaissance, Tyrolean and palatial Historicist architectural styles. In 1908, the Baron by his will sold the villa at a special price to the city on condition that it would be maintained as a museum.

Liebieghaus is a repository of sculpture and has artifacts that are over 5000 years old. The museum features Egyptian, Medieval Baroque, Renaissance and Neoclassical sculpture in its vast collection. Treasures among the collection include a marble Athena, Carolingian ivory reliefs, Hans Multscher’s alabaster sculpture of the Trinity and a bust of Barbel von Ottenheim mistress of Jakob von Lichtenberg, the last Lord of Lichtenberg.

Visitors can use an audio guide for an informative and interesting insight about the artists and the stories behind the creation of each exhibit.

Why You Should Visit:
The collection of classical sculpture is second to none in Frankfurt, and the temporary exhibitions are always exciting.
Pleasant to visit as it is often quieter than the larger museums. They also have a small cafe to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air.

You could simply take a picnic and sit in the garden – that's free! The garden itself is a real attraction with strategically placed seating for public use.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Wed, Fri-Sun: 10am–6pm; Thu: 10am–9pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Museum Giersch

9) Museum Giersch

The artistic landscape of the Rhine-Main region is preserved at this museum of art located at the Schaumainkai Museumsufer in Frankfurt. The gallery is the repository of an eclectic collection of works by local artists with a focus on 19th and 20th-century art.

The Museum Giersch is housed in a neoclassical villa built in the early 1900s for the Holzmann family of entrepreneurs. The building is one of the few neoclassical structures that survived the ravages of war on the banks of the river Main. In 1994 a foundation was established by Frankfurt businessman Carlo Giersch and his wife Karin. The foundation converted the structure into a museum to showcase works of Rhine-Main artists. The foundation runs the museum today.

The art and cultural history of the Rhine-Main region is portrayed through permanent and changing exhibits at the museum. The gallery features artwork loaned from large private collections. Exhibits include paintings, sculpture, photography, graphic art, architecture and applied art. The ground floor houses permanent exhibits and the upper floors feature changing themed or other exhibitions. The first floor is rented for lectures, banquets or receptions.

The entrance fee is very low, the architecture is nice, but how much you enjoy it will ultimately depend on what's on display at the time, so check online.
Be aware that there's not a single word in English, which makes the place somewhat difficult to navigate / fully appreciate for non-German speakers.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Thu: 12–7pm; Fri: 12–5pm, Sat, Sun: 11am–5pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

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