The museum embankment was created in the 1980s and combines high-calibre cultural offerings with well thought-out urban design. It saw a number of 19th century buildings deemed worthy of preservation gutted and given new interiors. Their historical facades continue to dominate the southern bank of the Main. The new buildings and extensions include some architectural gems designed by leading international firms.
Giersch House, dedicated to regional artists, is the first institution on the southern side of the Main. Next door is the Liebieghaus sculpture collection, which predominantly features sculptures from antiquity onwards. The Städel Museum is a highly acclaimed collection and the oldest German museum created by endowment. It presents works of art dating from the 13th century right up to contemporary pieces. A spectacular subterranean extension now houses its works dating from after 1945. The Frankfurt Museum for Communication is mainly dedicated to documenting communication technology, while the German Architecture Museum – the first of its kind in Germany – presents architectural history from primitive huts to high-rise buildings, supplemented by special exhibitions and lectures. The German Film Museum provides an interactive and self-explanatory overview of the technical history of the moving image. Founded in 1904, the Museum of World Cultures contains ethnological collections and art from exotic countries. The Museum of Applied Art shows design from the past and present. It is also home to the Emma Metzler museum restaurant, one of Germany's best. The Icon Museum, which is the easternmost museum along the museum embankment in Sachsenhausen, showcases Orthodox depictions of saints. Students and alumni of Frankfurt's Städelschule art academy exhibit their work at the Portikus hall on an island in the river Main. The city's history is brought to life at the Frankfurt Historical Museum, which is currently acquiring a new extension that is due for completion in 2016. Besides the more conventional museums, Frankfurt also has a museum of comic art: the Caricatura is home to a collection of the Frankfurt New School, featuring Germany's most important satirists and cartoonists. The Frankfurt Archaeological Museum takes visitors on a journey into the past and is dedicated exclusively to archaeology and cultural history. The Jewish Museum in Rothschild Palace presents the history and the social and religious life of Frankfurt's Jewish communities between the 12th and the 20th century. Its annexe, the Judengasse Museum, complements this exhibition and also has an educational centre.
The Schirn art gallery is a little further from the Main river. One of the city's most internationally acclaimed exhibition halls, it focuses on art from Modernism to contemporary. Another of Germany's leading museums is the Museum of Modern Art, which is located in an unusual building – nicknamed 'the piece of cake' – near the Schirn and Römerberg square. The museum embankment clearly has something for everyone.
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