The mission of the Curt-Engelhorn-Stiftung (CES) für die Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen (Curt Engelhorn Foundation (CES) for the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen (rem)) is to support the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen as a public institution of arts and culture, scholarship and research. It pursues the aim of further expanding the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen to be a nationally and internationally renowned center of art and cultural history and comparative cultural studies. The close relationship between the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen, operated as a municipal business by the city of Mannheim, and the nonprofit Curt-Engelhorn-Stiftung is unique in the German museum scene. The museum’s directorate general and the foundation’s board are identical and always managed conjointly. This makes it possible to coordinate both institutions’ resources ideally.
The Brombeeren-Stiftung an den Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen (Brombeeren Foundation at the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen) was established in 2013 in memory of Traudl Engelhorn-Vechiatto’s deceased husband Peter Engelhor at her initiative. The foundation endowed with € 20 million is one of three foundations that are instrumental in supporting Mannheim’s complex of museums.
The benefactor chose a name that echoes that of her Fondation Les Mûrons in Lausanne. The benefactor couple’s collection of glass art with works by over 300 artists is arguably now one of the most important of its kind. They bequeathed a majority to the Musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains (Mudac) in Lausanne. The collector loans her glass sculptures and studio glass to Mannheim where the Museum Peter und Traudl Engelhornhaus has been under construction in the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen museum quarter since 2019. It will be the new home to the benefactor couple’s collection of glass sculptures and is expected to open in 2022. Temporary exhibitions, such as “zart und rau” (soft and rough) (2017) and “Chromatik” (Chromatic) (2020) and the glass sculpture “Sphere” by sculptor Gernot Schluifer (1941 – 2008), the benefactor’s gift that has adorned the foyer of the Zeughaus for several years, have provided a foretaste of the quality of the art collection.
Supporting ancient Egyptian art, music and the porcelain and ceramic collection at the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen is also part of the foundation’s mission. The foundation has been making a spectacular Egyptian exhibit at the rem possible since 2014. The forty-three-piece Frankenthal porcelain coffee and tea service from around 1766, which has enriched the art and cultural history collections since 2018, is likewise one of Traudl Engelhorn’s gifts and thus one more manifestation of this benefactor’s generosity.
Following the family’s tradition of civic involvement, the Bassermann family established the Bassermann-Kulturstiftung Mannheim (Bassermann Cultural Foundation Mannheim) in August of 2008. The foundation’s mission is to support the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen as a public institution of art, culture, scholarship and research. The foundation especially supports the domains of music and art. The newly built Museum Bassermannhaus für Musik und Kunst is the essential medium for pursuing the foundation’s interests. This has given the music metropolis of Mannheim a museum dedicated to the subject of music. The foundation funded the museum’s construction and now uses its endowment to cover its continuous operation and substantive work. The six-floor building for the new museum and the Klaus-Tschira-Labor für physikalische Altersbestimmung was built on a plot of 800 m2. Another forum for the presentation of the collections’ holdings and temporary exhibitions was created on the ground floor and second floor. It is geared toward the themes of music, art, photography and world cultural history set forth in the foundation’s mission statement. The Bassermann-Kulturstiftung has since grown to become the largest foundation in the rem’s milieu. It supports 51 % of the rem gGmbH Stiftungsmuseen, nationally accredited as a museum in 2018. The foundation has its headquarters in the Bassermannhaus itself but also pursues its activities on the premises of the Schiller House on B5,7 and at Villa Poensgen in Heidelberg.