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Case Study: Senckenberg Museum

Customized Fire Protection Solutions for Unique Preparations

Since 2018, the rooms of the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum in Frankfurt have been sustainably protected against fires and consequential fire damage with extensive fire detection and a gas extinguishing system using argon. 

Whether ornithology (birds), mammalogy (mammals) or herpetology (amphibians and reptiles): the main building of the Senckenberg Museum is home to some unique, irreplaceable specimens, some of which are several decades or even centuries old. Starting in 2009, extensive renovation and expansion measures took place at the Frankfurt research institute and nature museum over a period of nine years. In the process, numerous natural history collections moved to new premises. Among them were many of the specimens from ornithology, mammalogy and herpetology that had been preserved in alcohol. Because of their preservation in alcohol, the specimens pose a particular fire risk.

The main building of the Frankfurt Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum, which is a listed building, was erected in 1908. The motto of the museum has always been: to research and to bring the results to the public. The science of the institution, collections and museums have a prominent position in biodiversity research.

Due to the increasingly limited storage space, the premises of the museum and research institute were extensively expanded from 2009 onwards. Since the start of the extensive remodeling and expansion, more than 22 million collection items have been moved, air-conditioned collection rooms and laboratories have been built, and modern work spaces have been created. This makes it Senckenberg's largest construction project to date. In 2018, the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung celebrated the completion of the conversion.

Prevent Rapid Spread of Fire

Risk Analysis

  • High fire load
    Preparations in the collection are preserved in alcohol and therefore carry an increased or high risk of fire.
  • Rapid fire spread
    The alcohol used for preservation contributes to a more rapid fire spread.
  • Premises
    Different storage rooms with a wide variety of stored goods makes it difficult to find a standardized solution.

Protection Goals

  • Property protection
    The stored specimens, some of which are irretrievable, must be sustainably protected for science and museum visitors.
  • Fire protection
    Fire transfer to other and adjacent areas must be prevented at all costs.
  • Personal protection
    Employees must be protected from fire in the best possible way.

Noble Gas for Fire Extinguishing

After analysis all fire risks and protection goals, the museum decided on a solution based on a FirExting® gas extinguishing system with argon. In combination with the earliest possible fire detection, this prevents the spread of a possible fire and thus the destruction of the research and exhibition specimens. In herpetology (amphibians and reptiles), the specific properties of the extinguishing gas argon are particularly advantageous: a large proportion of the specimens are preserved in alcohol. If the containers were damaged in a fire, the alcohol would collect on the floor in pools and promote rapid fire spread. This can be prevented by using the FirExting® gas extinguishing system. The extinguishing gas argon is heavier than air due to its high specific gravity, making it ideal for extinguishing areas with fire loads near the ground

And the main building of the Senckenberg Museum, built in 1908, also benefits from this solution: it is a listed building. A fire that spreads to the masonry would be fatal. The solution installed by WAGNER therefore provides multiple and lasting protection. 

Customer Benefits

  • Safe
    VdS approved and certified fire protection solution; Reliable protection of unique, irreplaceable preparations.
  • Flexible
    Flexible planning scope: fire protection solution can be flexibly adapted to new conditions in the event of expansion.
  • Clean
    Extinguishing gas leaves no residues in the shelters, consequential damage caused by the extinguishing gas can thus be ruled out.
  • Efficient
    Low operating costs - high energy efficiency in use.


An individual fire protection solution always takes into account the specific risks of the areas to be protected as well as your individual protection goals. We advise you holistically and look forward to your requirements. 

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