The foundation of the originally three museums traces back to the citizens of the city and to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who stayed in Wiesbaden in 1814/1815 for a rehabilitation measure, and worked hard to establish such a cultural institution. In 1825 he persuaded the Frankfurter private collector Johann Isaac Freiherr von Gerning to donate his extensive collections of works of art, antiquities and in kind to the Duchy of Nassau in return for the payment of an annuity for life.
Under the responsibility of the newly founded associations, but controlled by the ducal government, the citizens of Wiesbaden and the region were able to quickly expand these collections. Together with the pieces of the Verein für Nassauische Altertumskunde und Geschichtsforschung ("Association for Nassauian Antiquity and Historical Research") founded in 1812, three originally independent museums emerged. In addition to the Verein für Nassauische Altertumskunde und Geschichtsforschung the Nassauischer Verein für Naturkunde ("Nassau Society of Natural Science)" and the Nassauischer Kunstverein ("Nassau Kunstverein") (art society) were responsible for these museums.
Following the death of the Duke, the Hereditary Prince's Palace at Wilhelmstraße, built for his son, was now available for other purposes. In contrast to other cities, at a very early stage it was possible to find rooms for the cultural assets collected by the citizenry. In 1821 the three museums and the regional library of Hessen were thus able to move into the palace, which is nowadays the seat of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Wiesbaden. Around the middle of the 19th century the building became too small, due to the busy collection activities and new acquisitions. The call for a new building became louder and louder. After the three museums came under Prussian control in 1866, the city of Wiesbaden took over these institutions in 1899. This change was generally accepted because Wiesbaden had sufficient funds at the end of the 19th century to promote culture.
According to plans by architect Theodor Fischer, the foundation stone for a new building with three wings was laid at the corner of Wilhelmstraße/Rheinstraße in 1913. Previously, the banker's mansion Mons had stood there, in which the reception building of Ludwigsbahnhof was housed until 1906. The interior design of the three houses was influenced to a large extent by the three directors and the curators, as there were different needs.
The first to open was the Gemäldegalerie on October 1,1915. In the same year the Natural Sciences Collection was also able to move into the new building, but it was not until after the end of the First World War that the Natural Sciences Museum and the Museum of Nassau Antiquities reopened on 15 July 1920.
Half of the picture gallery was to be used for changing exhibitions, which were carried out by the Nassauischer Kunstverein in the 1920s and early 1930s. During this time, citizens of Wiesbaden also contributed to important additions to the collections. The natural science collections showed systematic exhibitions on topics of geology, paleontology and biology. Ecological aspects were also presented for the first time.
During the Second World War, the building was partly used for military purposes. With few exceptions, the collections survived the war unscathed. However, the exhibitions were dismantled and most of the showcases were damaged. Only slowly the rooms were able to regain their original function after renovation. This delay had another reason: the Americans, who moved to Wiesbaden after 1945, turned the museum into a Central Collecting Point. Temporarily stored art treasures were shown, such as the bust of Nefertiti or the painting The Man with the Golden Helmet, which was attributed to Rembrandt at the time.
After their return, a collection was rebuilt from [[1950s|the 1950s] onwards with very few resources. Clemens Weiler played a major role in the construction of the Alexej von Jawlensky-Collection, which is today the most important collection of the house. The Natural Science Museum was largely rebuilt by Friedrich Heineck, who was impeached of office during the war. It was the aim of the museum to show in particular info on the biomes in the exhibitions. The reconstruction was not entirely successful, partly because rooms were still being used by other people (e. g. by an American library and an urban archive).
In 1973 the three museums came into the possession of the state of Hesse. Since that time they have been united in a three-division house, the Museum Wiesbaden. The Nassauischer Kunstverein ("Nassau Kunstverein"), which had previously been housed in the museum, was moved to the historic villa on Wilhelmstraße 15 in the immediate vicinity. Since 2010 Alexander Klar has been director of the museum. He succeeds Volker Rattemeyer, who ran the museum for 23 years. Under his leadership, in 2007 it was elected by the International Association of Art Critics (Association Internationale des Critiques d' Art (AICA)) as Museum of the Year. 
From 1994 to 1997, the Kassel architects Schultze and Schulze completely renovated the rooms of the art collection, from 2003 to 2006 the roofs, the entrance area and the lecture hall and opened up new exhibition rooms of the art collection. From 2007 to 2012, the north and south wings were to be renovated. In the north wing, the natural history collection can be shown again from 2013 onwards. According to press reports and reports from the state government, the collection of Nassauian antiquities SNA was handed over to the city of Wiesbaden in 2009. The Old Masters are to be shown in the freed south wing.
From 1994 to 1997, the Kassel architects Schultze and Schulze completely renovated the rooms of the art collection, from 2003 to 2006 the roofs, the entrance area and the lecture hall and opened up new exhibition rooms of the art collection. From 2007 to 2012, the north and south wings were renovated. Since 2013, the natural history collection is now on show in the north wing. The Collection of Nassau Antiquities is now shown at the Stadtmuseum am Markt in Wiesbaden. In the freed south wing, the Old Masters are presented in connection with contemporary art: The chronological sequence was abandoned in favour of spaces on the themes' religion',' portrait',' mythology',' still life' and' landscape'.
The museum's art collection dates back to the former collection of Johann Isaak von Gerning from Frankfurt. Through purchases, donations and loans, the art collection has become one of the most important in Germany, especially in the area of the 19th and 20th centuries. The Museum Wiesbaden endeavours to identify Nazi plunder in its own collection and, if necessary, to return it to the legitimate heirs. In October 2014, the museum therefore launched a spectacular campaign entitled Wiesbaden schafft die Wende! (in english: Wiesbaden is making the turn! The painting Die Labung by Hans von Marées, stolen by the Nazi regime in 1935, came into the possession of the museum in 1980. It was still shown in the context of this action, but only the backside of the painting. It was not until the beginning of November, when donations had already raised enough money for the now legitimate purchase, that the painting could be turned back.
Sculptures do not play a significant role in the art collection of the Museum Wiesbaden. However, some interesting works are represented. The French sculpture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries is presented with a work by one of its main representatives, Aristide Maillol's Badende. The German sculptors of the first half of the 20th century are represented by Max Klinger (portrait bust of Friedrich Nietzsche, ca. 1910), Franz von Stuck, Georg Kolbe, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Gerhard Marcks, Emy Roeder and Ernst Barlach (Der Tod, 1925).
Compared to the collection of paintings, the graphic art collection is less important. Work before 1800 is scarce. In the 19th century, on the other hand, there are a number of works by Ludwig Knaus, Arnold Böcklin, Hans von Marées and Max Slevogt, among others. In the first half of the twentieth century, the expressionists stand out, especially Alexej von Jawlensky (see Alexej von Jawlensky-Collection, excellently represented with drawings, woodcuts and Lithographs. These include works by Die Brücke-artists such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, as well as works by the artists of the Blaue Reiter-Editorial Association. Of particular note are works by Franz Marc, August Macke and above all Wassily Kandinsky's watercolour Allerheiligen (All Saints', 1910) from the collection of Hanna Bekker vom Rath. But also works by other artists of the time, such as Edvard Munch, Otto Dix, Oskar Kokoschka, Käthe Kollwitz and Pablo Picasso can be found. The Constructivists' Graphics, to be named here are László Moholy-Nagy, the artist couple Robert Michel and Ella Bergmann-Michel, as well as Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, form another focal point of the collection. The graphic art collection after 1945 is very extensive, which is why only a few names are mentioned here. The informal graphic is represented by works by Karl Otto Götz, Otto Greis and Bernard Schultze. Further sheets from the 1940s and 1950s come from Willi Baumeister, HAP Grieshaber and above all from the extensive Ernst Wilhelm Nay-collection. Minimalist tendencies are shown in the works of Sol LeWitt. Pop art is represented by Thomas Bayrle, among others.
Collection of Old Masters
Compared to the 19th and 20th century collections, the Old Masters are rarely represented in the Museum. The focus is on Italian and Dutch artists from the 15th century onwards. The most important Italians are Prospero Fontana, Pietro da Lodi (Heimsuchung (Haunting)), Domenico Tintoretto, Sebastiano del Piombo, Luca Giordano, Francesco Solimena, Sebastiano Ricci, Cristoforo Munari and Gennaro Greco.
The Dutch painting is represented by artists such as Joos van Cleve (Christuskind mit Weintraube (Christ Child with Grapeberry), Albrecht Bouts, Otto van Veen, Joos de Momper, Frans Floris, Roelant Savery, Gerard van Honthorst, Willem van de Velde, Willem van de Velde, Jan Lievens, Frans Snyders (Stillleben (Still life)) and Nicolaes Berchem.
The German Late Gothic and Renaissance art is represented by the Master of the Heisterbach Altar, the Master of the Holy Family, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Bartholomew Bruyn the Elder and Hans Muelich. The German Baroque and Classicism is represented by Johann Conrad Seekatz and January Zick, Nicolas Treu, Johann Georg Platzer und Angelika Kauffmann ((Bildnis Johann Isaak von Gerning, 1798) (Portrait of Johann Isaak von Gerning, 1798)). The English painting is represented by Joshua Reynolds.
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- "Sammlung Nassauischer Altertümer" [Collection of Nassau Antiquities]. www.wiesbaden.de. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
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- "Die Suche nach Nazi-Raubkunst in Museen" [The Search for Nazi Robbery in Museums]. www.focus.de. 2014-11-07. Retrieved 2017-11-11Article written by dpa news agency
- "Kollwitz und Barlach - Im Tod vereint. 29 Jul 2016 — 23 Okt 2016" [Kollwitz and Barlach - united in death. 29 Jul 2016 - 23 Oct 2016]. museum-wiesbaden.de. Retrieved 2017-11-11.
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