In 2021 the Palmengarten, Frankfurt´s botanical garden, in Germany will be celebrating its 150th birthday. On the occasion of this anniversary, the Historical Museum Frankfurt is dedicating, from the 25th March until the 29th August, the exhibition “Frankfurt Gardenlust” to Frankfurt´s parks and public gardens, highlighting how the city has dealt with its green landscapes, past and present. Parks and gardens are part of Frankfurt – they are used for walking, celebrating, and playing sports, while also improving the urban climate. From March to October 2021, the Historical Museum Frankfurt will be showing three special exhibitions on the treatment of urban greenery in Frankfurt in times of climate change and housing shortages under the title “Urban Green”. “Frankfurt Gardenlust” is part of this exhibition triad, along with the exhibitions “CityLab Gardening” which focuses on urban gardening and “Environment, Climate & YOU” in the Young Museum Frankfurt.
The exhibition ‘Frankfurt Gardenlust’ spans an arc from the bourgeois gardens outside the city to the Wallanlagen promenades and Palmengarten botanical gardens, up to the recently built Hafenpark on the banks of the Main. It explores the early park areas and discusses the role of green spaces in times of strong population growth, diverse leisure needs, and climate crises. It takes different perspectives and asks how the citizens of Frankfurt, artists, or the department of city planning use, perceive, interpret and transform the green spaces and flora. The approximately 300 exhibits, atmospheric stagings, and artistic commentaries are presented in seven themed rooms. Thereby, “Frankfurt Gardenlust” offers the opportunity to present rarely shown objects from the museum collection, also including loans from other collections. Contemporary artistic positions on the theme of gardens and parks are being considered as well. Hands-on stations provide an additional incentive for families. In between, the park story interviews with protagonists from the green urban space offer opportunities for reflection. Atmospherically staged, the benches with the audios invite visitors to linger and delve deeper. At the very end, the garden lounge opens up, where visitors can discuss, rest, or collectively leave answers to questions on the pinboard: Is Frankfurt a green city? How can we make our parks fit for the future? What can we do to protect urban nature from climate change and urban growth?