Museum der Weltkulturen
The Museum of World Cultures is an ethnological
Ethnology is the branch of anthropology that compares and analyzes the origins, distribution, technology, religion, language, and social structure of the ethnic, racial, and/or national divisions of humanity.-Scientific discipline:Compared to ethnography, the study of single groups through direct...

 museum in Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. Until 2001 it was called the Museum of Ethnology (Museum für Völkerkunde).


It was founded in 1904, as a civic institution, to bring together the ethnographic collections of the city of Frankfurt. In 1908 the museum moved into the Palais Thurn und Taxis
Palais Thurn und Taxis
The Palais Thurn und Taxis in Frankfurt was built from 1731 to 1739 by Robert de Cotte commissioned by the Prince Reichserbgeneralpostmeisters Anselm Franz von Thurn und Taxis...

 in the city centre. In 1925 the city acquired the collections of the Institute of Cultural Morphology (today the Frobenius Institute), founded by the ethnologist Leo Frobenius
Leo Frobenius
Leo Viktor Frobenius was an ethnologist and archaeologist and a major figure in German ethnography.-Life:He was born in Berlin as the son of a Prussian officer and died in Biganzolo, Lago Maggiore, Piedmont, Italy...

. He relocated to Frankfurt along with the institute and become an honorary professor of the University of Frankfurt. In 1934 he became the director of the museum. The roles of museum director and institute director continued to be occupied by the same person (including Frobenius's successors) until 1966, when the university became state-run, since when the museum has again been run by the city.

Significant parts of the collection were lost when the Palais was destroyed by bombs in World War II
Bombing of Frankfurt am Main in World War II
Bombing of Frankfurt am Main by the Allies of World War II killed about 5,500 residents and destroyed the largest medieval city centre in Germany . Post-war reconstruction generally used modern architecture, and a few landmark buildings were rebuilt in a simple historical style...

. However, some items had already been evacuated from the Palais – these survived the war, and in 1973 they were put on display in an old villa on the banks of the Main, where they have been ever since. The Museum of World Cultures therefore counts as one of the earliest museums on what is now the Museumsufer
The embankment to the south of the Main River in Frankfurt, Germany, is called Museumsufer or Museum Embankment because of the large concentration of museums there...


The museum has expanded since 1973 and now occupies three adjacent buildings on the Schaumainkai
Schaumainkai is a street in central Frankfurt, Germany, running along the south side of the River Main. It includes a number of museums including the Städel, a leading art gallery...

 – nos. 29 (the main building), 35 (the original villa), and 37 ("Gallery 37"), which were acquired and/or rebuilt in the 1980s. The collections include over 65,000 objects from Oceania
Oceania is a region centered on the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean. Conceptions of what constitutes Oceania range from the coral atolls and volcanic islands of the South Pacific to the entire insular region between Asia and the Americas, including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago...

, Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, the Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. Gallery 37 hosts exhibitions of contemporary works by India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n, African, Oceanian and Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

n artists.

In 2010, plans were announced for a new phase of construction to further expand the museum.

The directors of the Museum der Weltkulturen are:
  • 1904–1919: Bernhard Hagen
  • 1919–1935: Johannes Lehmann, Interimsdirektor
  • 1935–1938: Leo Frobenius
  • 1938–1939: Adolf E. Jensen, Interimsdirektor
  • 1940–1945: Karin Hissink
  • 1946–1965: Adolf E. Jensen
  • 1965–1966: Carl August Schmitz
  • 1966–1971: Herrmann Niggemeyer
  • 1972–1983: Heinz Kelm
  • 1984–1985: Johanna Agthe, Interimsdirektorin
  • 1985–1998: Franz Josef Thiel
  • 1998–2000: Johanna Agthe, Interimsdirektorin
  • 2000–2008: Anette Rein
  • 2008–2010: Christine Stelzig
  • From 2010: Clementine Deliss
    Clémentine Deliss
    Clémentine Deliss was born in 1960 in London. She is a curator, researcher and publisher.- Biography :Clémentine Marie Deliss is born in 1960 in London from French-Austrian parents. She studies art in Vienna and she holds a B.A. in Social Anthropology and a Ph.D...

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