About the Arts and Crafts Association in Frankfurt am Main

About us

For more than five generations, the Arts and Crafts Association in Frankfurt am Main has been bringing together people interested in applied arts and to whom the manifold forms of expression appeal. The association is committed to preserving, exploring and revitalising art.

This is why the Arts and Crafts Association supports the Museum of Applied Arts with new acquisitions, publication proposals, exhibitions, the trust-held management of monetary and non-cash donations, as well as special projects such as the revitalisation of the Historic Villa Metzler.

Cultural Events in the Historic Villa Metzler

In the Historic Villa Metzler, next to the Eiserner Steg in Frankfurt am Main, you can experience art, music, literature and science in a classical town house or host your own events: The Kunstgewerbeverein in Frankfurt am Main e.V. is an Arts and Crafts Association, together with its subsidiary Historische Villa Metzler gGmbH, it has set itself the task of making this villa on the Schaumainkai, which is part of the Museum of  Applied Art, accessible to the city and surrounding region.

The villa had already become the new home of the Museum of Arts and Crafts in 1967, which had been located in the Neue Mainzer Strasse before the war.

Known in local vernacular as 'Villa Metzler', this house is one of the few remaining testimonies of classical architecture in Frankfurt. It was built between 1802 -1804 by the pharmacist Johann Peter Salzwedel.

Today the villa is part of Frankfurt’s unique museum embankment. Its forms are reflected in the museum buildings, in which the architect Richard Meier lovingly and generously incorporated them. In 1985, Richard Meier used the floor plan and outline of the villa as a module for his first building in Europe, the Museum of Applied Arts (formerly Museum of Arts and Crafts).

The interior of the Historic Villa Metzler was radically refurbished in 2008 and redesigned as a museum. It now offers style or era rooms on the two upper floors and rooms for events and meetings on the ground floor.

The following cultural series of events take place in the Historic Villa Metzler:

Literature (in cooperation with the City of Frankfurt’s Cultural Office):
The literary series Frankfurter Premieren was founded in cooperation with the city’s Cultural Office. By gratuitously providing the reception rooms on up to 12 evenings per year, the association is making a continual and sustainable contribution to the support of the literary scene in the region. The city’s literary department is responsible for the organisation of the content. The Historic Villa Metzler seeks to procure sponsors and patrons for the provision of the rooms.

Music and Musical Talents:
Sounds of the Eras
Together with Dr. Hoch’s Conservatory, the Arts and Crafts Association has devoted itself musically to the various eras, which are presented in the so-called style rooms of the villa (1st and 2nd floor). With the concert format ‘Sounds of the Eras’, students and pupils from the Academy will have the opportunity to perform in an exceptional setting. These events are particularly popular and were initiated by the Arts and Crafts Association.

Harpsichord – Matter of the Heart
Two to four times a year, the Ruckers harpsichord from 1622, which stands on the first floor of the villa, is presented and played by Diez Eichler (Dr. Hoch’s Conservatory) in cooperation with the Arts and Crafts Association.

'Fairy Tale Stories' with Monika Mosburger or 'Musical Afternoons' for children, amongst others, with the music teacher from the Musical Children’s University Mainz, Prof. Dr. Felix Koch, and his students or the children’s songwriter Fredrik Vahle. These events allow the children to interact with the concert through singing, rhythm games and movements, thereby discovering their own creative potential and arousing their musical curiosity. The privacy of the rooms is ideally suited to creating closeness and overcoming inhibitions.
We are always on the look out for additional cooperation partners in order to vitalise these rooms with events for children and young people.

Discussion groups and events hosted by the Arts and Crafts Association: Since the reopening of the Historic Villa Metzler, the Arts and Crafts Association has expanded its programme with the format 'The ACA in the Villa'. Discussion groups on many different aspects of applied arts were held, amongst them panel discussions such as 'The garden as an object of applied art' or 'Applied art in sacred buildings' as well as contemporary formats such as the sales exhibition M.13, a small market with its own edition held every year in november.

Linked events:
Dialogue or rather event series that thematically loosely follow the changing exhibitions of the Museum of Applied Arts, while approaching the subject from a slightly different angle or expanding the spectre.

Dialogue events:
Science in dialogue:
The series Wissenschaft im Dialog came about in cooperation with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The aim of the public discussion circle, which has been taking place since 2012, is to heighten the profile of the scientific and therewith associated intellectual richness of the Rhein-Main area within the urban community. The dialogue partners do not give technical lectures, but help the audience to visualise the subject at hand within the framework of a moderated discussion. The privacy of the rooms encourages an intense exchange of ideas and promotes the culture of discussion between science and society. This series of discussions, which takes place four times a year, is supported by the FAZIT-Stiftung Geimeinnützige Verlagsgesellschaft mbH as well as by the Polytechnische Gesellschaft.

Transatlantic Wednesday:
Frankfurt’s cultural office and the Frankfurt Civic Trust, in cooperation with the US Consulate General and the Berlin American Academy, initiated the series of events under the title 'Transatlantic Wednesday' in the Holzhausenschlösschen in 2010. Since then, the lectures and discussions in English have been taking place as an annual series, since 2012 in the Historic Villa Metzler and at Frankfurt University. 

The History of the Arts and Crafts Association and the Polytechnic Society

Citizens of Frankfurt founded the Mitteldeutscher Kunstgewerbeverein - Middle German Arts and Crafts Association - on the 25th March 1877. In 1878, it was incorporated into the circle of the Polytechnic Society as an independent institute. It set itself the task of stimulating creativity in the design of industrial products, as well as transmitting permanent values to society by using the examples of past cultures to foster community spirit.

The Arts and Crafts Museum was opened in the Neue Mainzer Strasse in 1881. The Middle German Arts and Crafts Association maintained the museum, library and arts college here for more than four decades. The city administration took over the establishment in 1921, as the association had lost its entire fortune as a consequence of the First World War. It was renamed as the Museum of Arts and Crafts in 1936. Fortunately its collections were evacuated in good time during the Second World War and thereby survived the buildings’ collapse in 1944.

After the currency reform, the Arts and Crafts Association was also revived again. The homeless museum with its large treasures moved several times before it finally found a suitable property in 1961. The Arts and Crafts Association campaigned strongly for the purchase of the former residence of the Metzler family at Schaumainkai 15. On the 25th April 1985, the museum finally obtained its own building designed by the New York architect Richard Meier. The Arts and Crafts Association raised over one million Deutschmarks for the opening.

In May 2000, in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the opening, the former Museum of Arts and Crafts reopened under the new name of ‘Museum of Applied Arts Frankfurt’.  With the support of both national and international partners, the collection was newly presented and expanded. This included the world-famous Collection Geyger of early Japanese colour woodcuts. Here, too, the Arts and Crafts Association strongly campaigned in its capacity as society of ‘Friends and Patrons of the Museum’.

The History of the Polytechnic Society

In 1816, dedicated citizens of Frankfurt joined forces and founded the Polytechnic Society for the ‘advancement of useful arts and the sciences that refine them’. Shortly afterwards, they established their financial basis in the form of a banking subsidiary ‘Frankfurter Sparkasse von 1822’. The support of artisan craftwork was also integrated into the cultural program of the society. After the constricting guild constitution was abolished and free enterprise introduced in 1864, it finally became possible to consider the advancement of trade in what was then still a free city. In the summer of that same year, the first exhibition of artisan and industrial products from Frankfurt was held in the Saalbau. The items displayed had originated during the guild period, but made clear the trend of time.

Following the founding of the German Reich and the accompanying stimulation to the economy, time seemed to be ripe for the Polytechnic Society to present the significance of artisan craftwork in a large exhibition, thereby helping to set a style for industry and trade. The proposition met with approval and the heir to the throne, Princess of Thurn and Taxis, made her palace on the Grosse Eschenheimer Gasse (image) available for the exhibition between August and October 1875. The success was overwhelming and even Emperor William 1st and Empress Augusta did themselves the honour of attending.

The president of the society at that time, Dr. Johann David Sauerlaender (DOD 1896), a lawyer from Frankfurt, sought out ways to ensure a permanent establishment, especially since the organisers had been loaned some 50 exhibits for a still-to-be-founded arts and crafts museum. For the purpose of institutionalisation, an arts and crafts association was to be founded. In order to cover the art and trade landscape between Munich and Berlin and to accommodate most of the lenders to the exhibition of 1875, he called the association ‘Middle German Arts and Crafts Association’.

Corresponding Members

The Arts and Crafts Association maintains corresponding memberships with some institutions and other societies both in Frankfurt and nationwide. These institutions and societies inform the Arts and Crafts Association’s administrative office of their activities and vice-versa. Furthermore, cooperations for events also exist with some of the corresponding members. Thanks to this amicable interaction, this results in reciprocal visits, exchanges and, when required, mutual support.