There are more than 40 museums in Munich and it would take you more than 40 days and 40 nights to see them all. Some have buildings in more than one location and others are just so huge that it would be impossible to see their entire collections in a day.
The Marstallmuseum, at Schloss Nymphenburg, houses a collection of royal carriages and sleighs in what were once the royal stables. There are coronation coaches, state coaches and sleighs, all highly gilded and ornamented as well as lavishly decorated harnesses and paintings of favoured horses. The coronation coach of The Emperor Charles VII dates from 1742.
Situated on an island in the river Isar, the Deutsches Museum showcases science and technology and is so large that visitors can only take in a small amount of the collection in a day. Its transport exhibition features original pieces including boats, planes and even a World War Two U1 submarine and hands on experiences are encouraged.
One of the most popular real life displays takes place daily in the Energy exhibition, when a staff member sits inside an elevated wire sphere while 270 volts of electricity are applied, creating a massive spark and an very loud bang. It’s a relief when the cage is lowered and the staff member steps out unharmed.
For a more refined exhibition of technology, travel to the northern suburbs of Munich to BMW Welt and the BMW Museum. Inside the museum visitors follow a 1000 metre pathway which spirals downwards past displays about the history of the company, the development and design of BMW’s vast range of vehicles and the BMW products of today. In one gallery there is an exhibition of people’s memories of their own BMW experiences. The photos and remembrances are extraordinary and quite moving.
On the other side of the autobahn is Olympiapark, built for the 1972 Olympic Games. The complex includes the Olympic Stadium, Swim Hall and Ice Rink, all of which are open to the public. The Olympic stadium was the home stadium of the FC Bayern München and TSV 1860 München teams, until the opening of the Allianz Arena in 2005. Now it’s mainly used for cultural events and concerts. The guided stadium tour includes an exhibition of Olympic and football memorabilia.
On the same site is the Olympic Tower, 291 metres high, with an observation platform at 191 metres. To reach the platform visitors travel in an elevator at 7 metres per second, a journey that takes 30 seconds. The view at the top extends on a clear day from Munich to the Bavarian Alps, and gives a great view of the Olympic complex. In one room of the platform there is a small rock and roll museum. It seems a strange place to find such a display but the memorabilia of past concerts is fascinating and there are items from Kiss, The Rolling Stones and Queen in the collection.
Back in the centre of town, at the Old City Hall in Marienplatz, is the Speilzeugmuseum, devoted to toys from the past. There is a large display of Steiff bears, accompanied by the story of their creator, Margarete Steiff. The collection of toy soldiers, armies, Noah’s Ark animal sets and toy cars is a young boy’s dream come true, while the display of Barbie dolls with accessories, and doll houses filled with miniature furniture and inhabitants would make a little girl’s life complete. The museum is a treasure trove of childhood memories, with the earliest piece dating from the neolithic period.
The Land Transport Museum, at Theresienhöhe, is one of the three museums belonging to the Deutsches Museum and its main focus is transport technology. Who knew there were so many varieties of bicycle, car, bus, train and tram in the world, let alone all those skis and rollerskates?
You wouldn’t be able to try them all, even in 40 days and 40 nights!