The Museum Schnütgen has a notable collection of medieval art. Its focal point is ecclesiastical art of the Rhineland and neighbouring regions. The museum building blends the stillness and aura of the Church of St. Cecilia, one of Cologne’s Romanesque churches, with the open spaces of a modern annexe.
The museum makes it possible for visitors to both aesthetically and emotionally experience the artworks and their spiritual radiance, their artistic quality and their function, and understand them intellectually. It communicates the European context of their creation in terms of art, religion and history.
The museum team is constantly working to further develop the orientation of its collection. The museum enters into a dialogue with its visitors. This outreach work is directed to visitors of all age groups, with or without prior experience in the contemplation of medieval art, with different native languages and cultural influences. The museum actively approaches potential visitors, thereby helping modern society deal with that part of its cultural heritage that the collection embodies.
The museum benefits from cooperations with the Friends of the Museum as well as with other institutions and persons by using their individual capabilities for its work. The museum also has areas of overlap with other museums in Cologne and the city’s churches.
Special exhibitions are devoted to topics that develop out of the work of the museum. Starting points are both aspects of medieval art as well as cultural topics that are relevant to today’s society.
Traditionally, the Museum Schnütgen has been a place of research and instruction and has worked with other museums, universities and research institutes on a regional, national and international basis. One important focus of its research is the scholarly analysis of its own collection.
The museum is in particular responsible for the conservation of the objects entrusted to its care for future generations, which also involves contracting specialists to carry out expert restoration measures. This is achieved within the framework of an intensive scholarly exchange with other institutes, which also includes discussions of technological concerns.
New acquisitions serve to grow the collection qualitatively and enrich it by adding new facets.