Short history of EXPERIMINTA
The history of the EXPERIMINTA ScienceCenter begins in 2006 with the formation of the citizens' initiative for a "Centre for Mathematical and Scientific Culture (ZMNK)" by 5 founding members from the educational sector. In talks with the Physical Society in Frankfurt am Main and the Polytechnical Society Foundation as well as the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Frankfurt am Main, the Goethe University, the City of Frankfurt, the Hessian Ministry of Culture and other institutions and foundations, they planned to establish a Science Center.
With the support of the Phänomenta in Flensburg and the Mathematikum in Gießen, a temporary exhibition entitled "Experimentiere!" was held in Frankfurt in November 2007 for a trial period and attracted around 10,000 visitors. The success of this exhibition motivated the members of the initiative to set up a support association to create a permanent institution in Frankfurt am Main.
Foundation of ExperiMINTa e.V.
The non-profit support association ExperiMINTa Frankfurt am Main e.V. was founded in spring 2008. Norbert Christl was the founding chairman, Dr. Herbert Schnell and Dr. Ulrich Bosler were elected as his vice-chairmen. The position of treasurer was initially held by Peter Gress, who was replaced by Nikolaus Wirth in 2009. Further 7 persons from the educational sector formed the founding members of the association. The board and the members worked on a voluntary basis. Intensive work was done on an exhibition concept, which was essentially confirmed by a working group already in summer.
In the following years, explorations were made at many science centres and similar institutions and funding was acquired.
After a difficult search for a location, the EXPERIMINTA ScienceCenter was finally able to open its permanent facility on 1 March 2011 in Hamburger Allee in Frankfurt-Bockenheim. The owner and operator was the ExperiMINTa support association. Shortly before the opening, the team, which was still largely made up of volunteers, was supplemented by a few full-time employees and student assistants.
In 2012, EXPERIMINTA was facing financial difficulties but was saved by the great commitment of the voluntary board, the staff and many other external donators and partners. In the following years, the house established itself more and more and became a popular destination for families, school classes and kindergarten groups.
In 2017, more than 100,000 visitors came to the house for the first time within one year. This is a goal that the ScienceCenter has always wanted to achieve since its opening. In 2018 and 2019 this number was further increased in each case and finally reached almost 120,000 visitors.
Foundation of EXPERIMINTA gGmbH
Over the years, however, as the number of visitors increased, so did the demands on the organisation of the operation. This led to the fact that more and more full-time staff were gradually employed. At the same time, it became clear that the growing business operations no longer fitted into an association structure. Due to the increased responsibility and liability risks, it became increasingly difficult to find new board members. In view of the age structure of the founding board, however, this was urgently necessary.
In 2019, the members of the support association therefore decided to found EXPERIMINTA gGmbH. The gGmbH was founded in September 2019 and then took over the operation of the ScienceCenter with all rights and obligations on 1 February 2020. Astrid Jaschek, who has held a management position in the company since its opening, was appointed CEO. The ExperiMINTa support association continues to exist. It is the shareholder of the gGmbH and supports the management in the areas of fundraising and networking.
In the corona year 2020, EXPERIMINTA had to close for the first time for a total of 19 weeks between March and May as well as in November and December due to official orders.