There are many museums in Munich and some are not as famous as they are valuable. The Bavarian National Museum is a place you should definitely visit when in Munich. I highly recommend this museum for its rich collection of folklore and art.
You have to know that in Munich you are spoiled for choice when it comes to museums. Like other museums in the city, the Bavarian National Museum is not only one of the best in Germany, it also has some of the best collections in Europe.
I really enjoy visiting the Bavarian National Museum. Besides being fun to tour the museum, it is very nicely divided into different collections. That makes it very accessible.
The construction of the museum
Construction of the Bavarian National Museum began in 1855 in the era of King Maximilian II. Before the museum was built, most of the German antiques were in a building that served as a school for deaf-mute students. Antiques were kept there even after the museum was completed. It also contained large European collections from the Middle Ages to the beginning of the 20th century.
The construction of the museum took about 9 years, and it finally opened in 1867 (already during the time of King Ludwig II) on Maximilianstrasse.
However, the growing collection of antiques required another move. A new location for the museum was found on Prinzregentenstrasse. This new building was completed in 1900.
The former building of the Bavarian National Museum on Maximilianstrasse is now the Museum of Five Continents, in which non-European antiquities are exhibited.
Architects of the Bavarian National Museum
The first architect to design the museum on Maximilianstrasse is Eduard Riedel. He is a graduate of architecture studies in Munich. Riedel (1813-1885) can refer to numerous architectural projects. Before working at the Bavarian National Museum, he worked in Athens. He was also the court architect of the famous Greek King Otto, the uncle of Ludwig II.
Riedel’s work in Germany includes the Ludwigstrasse women’s monastery, the Schleissheim palace garden and designs for other royal palaces, such as Neuschwanstein Castle.
Gabriel Seidel overlooked the reconstruction of the Bavarian National Museum on Prinzregentenstrasse. If you are an architectural design enthusiast and a frequent visitor to Munich, this name should be familiar to you. He is responsible for the architectural designs of the Lenbach Villa and the Deutsches Museum. One of his famous works outside of Munich is the town hall in Bremen.
Born in Bavaria, Gabriel Seidel (1848-1913) completed his mechanical engineering studies at the Polytechnic in Munich. After graduating, he explored his field of mechanical engineering in England before discovering his passion for architecture. So he returned to Munich to study architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts.
The last construction work in the Bavarian National Museum was an extension of the south-east wing in 1937. The architect responsible for this is German Bestelmeyer (1874-1942), who studied architecture at the Technical University in Munich.
Collection in the Bavarian National Museum
The museum has a rich collection and you will enjoy the tour to the full. The exhibitions include:
Collection of treasures from the past
As you walk through the rooms you will admire some of the best put together works of art in Europe. Here you can see objects from the depths of the Middle Ages to those of the 20th century.
The rooms offer ample space while you learn more about the history of each exhibition.
Collection of sculptures
Another rich collection of the Bavarian National Museum is that of sculptures by famous artists from all over Europe. This collection is one of the most important on the continent. It contains sculptures from the 13th to the 20th century. Some rarities here are unrivaled in other European museums.
These collections include works of art by the famous Wittelsbach family. Other artists are Tilman Riemenschneider, Giovanni Bologna, Franz Xaver, etc. This collection is the largest for German sculptures of the Middle Ages.
Collection of folk antiques
The collection of folkloric antiques is quite amazing. It includes smooth china, some old textiles and fashions, musical instruments, etc. It also has some of the best nativity scenes you can find today.
The Baroque Luxury Collection
Here you can find other nativity scenes in the museum. However, these are more related to the baroque world. Twelve rooms specially furnished for this collection welcome international guests. There are more than 1000 treasures and works of art.
This includes various ivory materials, specially designed jugs and mugs, and various other items from workshops across Europe.
Most notable in this collection are the fashion and textile materials. These alone are exhibited in 3 separate halls of the museum. The clothes on display are very colorful. Some of them date from the Middle Ages and were worn by famous people from that time.
Some of the fabrics are Robe a la Francaise, early Meissen and Dottore.
Children’s toys collection
A small room in the Bavarian National Museum houses the collection of toys from the 19th and early 20th centuries. If you were a kid then, you can relive those moments by browsing the collections. Believe me, it’s fun!
Events of the Bavarian National Museum
The museum offers more than just the usual guided tours. Seminars, workshops and special tours are offered. This can be in the form of seminars, workshops or an organized school class. The museum is frequently visited by students from all over Europe.
The Long Night of the Museums
A popular event in Bavaria is the Long Night of Museums in October. It takes place every year. The Bavarian National Museum is one of the most popular venues for this event. Therefore, there are a particularly large number of tourists to be found at this time.
During this event, the museums are open until midnight and provide access to all collections. This practice began in Berlin around 1997. Today it is common throughout Europe and even in some Asian and South American countries.
Insightful experience in Munich museums
One thing I find fascinating about the Bavarian National Museum is that you can find something regardless of your subject. Wherever you are, you will find something that interests you. If art is your passion, then I advise you to allow 2 days for the visit. That would be necessary to visit most of the collections.
You don’t have to worry about background information. I will be by your side at all times and provide you with the necessary information you need. It will be fun so please come with loved ones and of course your camera.