Science & Research

Insofar as possible, specimens from our collections may be borrowed for scholarly purposes, instructional events, and exhibitions. Please direct your inquiries in a timely manner with thorough details about the specimens you wish to borrow directly to the department.

Research in the Natural History Collections

Research in the Natural History Collections

The Natural History Collections comprise extensive individual collections, which are especially researched by external scientists. The curators of the department are concerned primarily with the museum's collections, focusing particularly on the following areas.

Research Areas

Robber flies (Diptera: Asilidae) 

Museum Wiesbaden serves as the international information point for the robber fly family (external link). All relevant scientific sources on this one of the largest Diptera families are collected at Museum Wiesbaden by Fritz Geller-Grimm and made accessible online. His own work centers on alpha taxonomy, the compilation of catalogues, identification guides and behavioral study.

Dolopus simulans from Brisbane. Photo: Museum Wiesbaden / Fritz Geller-Grimm
Dolopus simulans from Brisbane. Photo: Museum Wiesbaden / Fritz Geller-Grimm

Gazelles (Artiodactyla: Bovidae) 

With a special focus is on the group gazelles, Dr. Hannes Lerp conducts the research on bovids (Bovidae) at Museum Wiesbaden. He uses molecular-biological and morphological methods to analyze their evolutionary history. His research in cooperation with national and international partners has shown that the genus Gazella likely originated on the Arabian Peninsula and spread from there to Asia and Africa. In the process, different species have evolved, each adapting to the unique conditions of their environment within arid desert and semi-desert habitats. A selection of his publications is available here
(external link).

Young Arabian sand gazelle (Gazella marica) in King Khalid Wildlife Research Centre, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Museum Wiesbaden / Hannes Lerp
Young Arabian sand gazelle (Gazella marica) in King Khalid Wildlife Research Centre, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Museum Wiesbaden / Hannes Lerp

Colourants

The Natural History Collections present some 150 colorants in the permanent exhibition Aesthetics of Nature. Since the development of this display module in 2013 in collaboration with the color researcher and artist Stefan Muntwyler, Susanne Kridlo has been investigating the history of pigments and dyes. In 2018, she presented a study exhibition on the history of color in Hessen, including the history of the Blaues Ländchen (little blue country) near the city of Naststätten and the beginnings of dye chemistry on the river Main. The museum’s collection of colorants is continually expanded, and we welcome any information or material, such as stocks of historical pigments and dyes. Natural sources of colorants, such as minerals and earth pigments, are also of particular interest.

Detail from color sample catalogue, dianil colors on cotton yarn. Farbwerke vorm. Meister Lucius & Brüning, circa 1923 (MWNHFA-0152). Photo: Museum Wiesbaden / Bernd Fickert
Detail from color sample catalogue, dianil colors on cotton yarn. Farbwerke vorm. Meister Lucius & Brüning, circa 1923 (MWNHFA-0152). Photo: Museum Wiesbaden / Bernd Fickert

Ethnological research 

The ethnological holdings of the Natural History Collections date back to the 19th century and are the focus of Dr. Andy Reymann’s research. These holdings formed as a result of the largely universal curiosity of missionaries, merchants and travelers interested in natural science. In addition to clarifying the provenance and circumstances of acquisition of these objects, ethnological research at Museum Wiesbaden is primarily dedicated to the object-based reconstruction of the realities of life in the past. You can read more about his research here (external link).

Ritual pulas (threatening letters) of the Indonesian Batak, late 19th century. Photo: Museum Wiesbaden / Bernd Fickert
Ritual pulas (threatening letters) of the Indonesian Batak, late 19th century. Photo: Museum Wiesbaden / Bernd Fickert

Paleontology and paleoclimate 

Since the origin of life, organisms have left traces of their existence on Earth in the form of skeletons, shells, or imprints. In a word: fossils. Museum Wiesbaden's paleontological collection is one of the most significant collections of Devonian, Tertiary and Quaternary fauna and flora in Germany. They are the focus of Dr. Eric Otto Walliser's research to investigate their paleoclimatic significance. The three-dimensional shape, age, and chemical nature of fossils are studied to reconstruct environmental conditions from these time periods of Earth history. Such information is extremely valuable to modern climate research and advances our knowledge of current climate change.

A selection of his publications is available here (external link).

Glycymeris planicostalis from Alzey-Weinheim. Photo: Museum Wiesbaden
Glycymeris planicostalis from Alzey-Weinheim. Photo: Museum Wiesbaden

Natural Science Advisory Board

The Museum conducts research to develop exhibits, to document its collection and to answer public enquiries about the collection. We work with a number of independent research partners and scientists to explore topics of mutual interest and to conduct ongoing research into a variety of themes.


The following are the current research associates:

Dr. Jan Bohatý
Hessian State Office for the Preservation of Historic Monuments and Sites, Paleontology and UNESCO-World Natural Heritage Sites, Wiesbaden

Prof. Dr. Kirsten I. Grimm
Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität, Institute for Geosciences, Mainz, Department of Applied and Analytical Paleontology

Werner Hammer
Wiesbaden

Dr. Martin Hauser
California Department of Food & Agriculture, Plant Pest Diagnostics Branch, Sacramento

Dr. Ulrich Hecker
Mainz

Dr. Doris Heidelberger
Oberursel

Dr. Jutta MacConnell
Johannes Gutenberg University, Institute for Ethnology and African Studies, Mainz

Dr. Inar Natus
Wiesbaden

Charles Schouwenburg
Zwartewaal

Christopher Thomas
Frankfurt am Main

Stefan Tischendorf
Darmstadt

Dr. Patrick Zell
Hessian State Office for the Preservation of Historic Monuments and Sites, Paleontology and UNESCO-World Natural Heritage Sites, Wiesbaden

Calendar

  • Sa
    18 Mai
    10:15—13:00
    MUSEUMSWERKSTATT FÜR KINDER Wie siehst du denn aus? Formen in der Natur erkunden und drucken
  • So
    19 Mai
    10:00—17:00
    INTERNATIONALER MUSEUMSTAG Internationaler Museumstag
  • So
    19 Mai
    11:00
    ERÖFFNUNG Adivasi — Das andere Indien

Educational programs

Museum Wiesbaden offers a variety of programs for all ages, from guided tours to workshops for preschools and schools, to teacher training and programs for students, private groups, or families with children.

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