Monacensia Munich: discover literary Munich
Monacensia im Hildebrandhaus: literary archive, museum, library
A place to explore and study: The Monacensia is an artist's villa, literary archive, library, and exhibition house all in one, and is considered to be the city's "literary memory".
In cooperation with the cultural department and the museums
This article about Munich's museums is sponsored by the Cultural Department of the City of Munich and was conceived in cooperation with the State Agency for Non-State Museums in Bavaria. The content has been coordinated between the participating museums and muenchen.de, the official city portal.
Why the Monacensia is worth a visit:
The Monacensia placed in the Hildebrandhaus opens its historic rooms and garden to all visitors who want to discover, explore and experience the literary Munich.
What to see? More than 150,000 volumes of the Munich Public Library are freely accessible in the library section. In addition, the archive preserves literary estates and bequests as well as collections of renowned writers who have close ties to Munich. These include the complete estates of Klaus and Erika Mann, more than 800 letters and manuscripts by Thomas Mann, as well as numerous archival documents by Golo, Monika, Michael and Elisabeth Mann. The permanent exhibition offers an insight of literary Munich at the time of Thomas Mann, and additional holdings are presented in special exhibitions.
What's special? The Monacensia is not only a home for Munich's literature and culture, it is also a production site for authors in Munich. In the tradition of the artist's villa, the Hildebrandhaus offers a space where literature is presented and also directly created. With its freely accessible reading garden, the Monacensia is a relaxed place to enjoy individual reading and personal encounters.
Monacensia: The most important information at a glance
- Location: On the high bank of the Isar, not far from the "Friedensengel" and the "Villa Stuck"
- Museum category: Literature and culture
- Recommended length of stay: At least 1 hour
- How to get there: Tram line 37 to "Holbeinstraße" or bus 100 to "Villa Stuck".
- Parking: Only public parking spaces in the surrounding areas
Permanent exhibition: Everything about Thomas Mann and the authors of his time
Thomas Mann's Munich years between 1894 and 1933 form the temporal framework for the permanent exhibition "Literary Munich in Thomas Mann's Time. From Bohemia to Exile". Based on the literary estates of the Monacensia, it deals with the question: What constitutes literary Munich between Schwabing’s bohemia and the escape from Munich after Hitler's seizure of power in 1933?
Historical films and audio stations as well as exciting original exhibits allow you to authentically relive the artistic and literary scene of the time. Don't miss out on these highlights:
- Original poets's desks by Frank Wedekind and Oskar Maria Graf: An author's desk is not only a workplace. It is a "writing home" and at the same time the expression of an attitude to life and therefore today tells a piece of literary history itself.
- Valuable original manuscripts: In addition to Munich authors, many important Bavarian writers are also represented. These include Thomas Mann, Lena Christ, Therese Giehse, Oskar Maria Graf, Annette Kolb, Ludwig Thoma, Frank Wedekind and many more.
- Letters, photographs and rare memorabilia: The menu for the reception at Munich City Hall after Thomas Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature can be seen here. So is a glass with the inscription "Sei glücklich" (be happy) by Lena Christ, who struggled with severe depressions.
In addition, a second permanent exhibition is housed in the building: "The Hildebrandhaus. Biography of an Artist's Villa." With many photographs and selected documents, it provides insights into the eventful history of the house, from the glamorous Prince Regent period to the Aryanization during the Nazi era to the rescue of the artist's villa in the 1970s, which was threatened with demolition.
The Monacensia presents its other holdings in changing special exhibitions to the public. The documents of the literary past are carefully curated and always placed in relation to the present. Even gaps in the library's collection and literary archive are highlighted. In this way, the establishment wants to give impulses for further research.
Furthermore, visitors can also discover the special exhibitions digitally during and after their runtime:
- The current special exhibition Live free. The Women of the Bohemia 1890-1920 deals with the fact that many exciting women in literary history have been forgotten.
- For Pop Punk Politics – The 1980s in Munich the Monacensia team produced several video statements. In addition, film portraits and exclusive texts by female writers on the 1980s in Munich complete this retrospective.
- The exhibition Erika Mann. Cabaret Artist – War Reporter – Political Speaker offers an insight to the life and work of Erika Mann (1905-1969) and focuses on her consistent advocacy for freedom and democracy.
Library and literary archive
No doubt, this is a place of books and history. It is part of the Munich Public Library and, in addition to the exhibition, includes a library with around 150,000 volumes that is freely accessible. The holdings can be borrowed or viewed on site. The salon, reading garden, event and exhibition rooms, as well as the library and study room offer a variety of opportunities to get to know Munich's literary treasures.
The archive currently contains around 300 literary estates and bequests of renowned writers and serves primarily as a research facility for scholarly work. Use is free of charge, but requires prior registration and reservation.
Guided tours and events
The Monacensia offers a variety of individual guided tours and workshops, for example:
- Guided tours of the permanent and special exhibitions in cooperation with the Münchner Volkshochschule (adult education center)
- Guided tours of the library and literary archive for school classes and students
- Every Sunday, in cooperation with the Münchner Volkshochschule, there is a guided tour of the special exhibition "Live free! The Women of the Bohemians 1890 - 1920".
- Tours for groups and school classes in cooperation with the Münchner Volkshochschule and the Museumspädagogischen Zentrum (Museum Educational Center, please book these in advance by e-mail)
- Writing workshops with the turtle magazin(e) team as part of the writing residency from March to July 2023. (in German only)
Admission to the Monacensia is free of charge.
- You can discover a digital version of the Monacensia's special exhibitions (in German only) – during and also after their duration.
- With the Monacensia – digital project, the institution is making its archives accessible worldwide for the first time (in German only).
- Exciting background information on all topics can also be found in the blog of the Munich Public Library (in German only).
- The digital magazine mon_BOHEME (in German only) accompanies and expands the current special exhibition "Live free! The Women of the Bohemian World 1890-1920".
Historical and modern architecture of the building
The Monacensia is housed in the former artist's villa of the sculptor Adolf von Hildebrand (1874-1921). Designed as a residence and studio by the artist himself, the Hildebrandhaus was built in 1898 by the Munich architect Gabriel von Seidl.
Through the general renovation from 2013 to 2016, the publicly usable area in the villa has grown from 360 square meters to 780 square meters and has thus more than doubled. Architecturally, it is a spacious, bright and modern place, which is now also technically up to date.
Accessibility and offers for individuals with disabilities
The Monacensia is largely barrier-free accessible. A special entrance for wheelchair users is located at Siebertstr. 2.
The literary archive is only accessible to wheelchair users to a limited extent; personal consultation is requested here.
- An accessible toilet is located on the first basement floor.
The Monacensia is an institution of the Munich Public Library. It was founded by the first full-time director of the city library, Hans Ludwig Held (1885-1954). In 1922 he initiated the establishment of a Munich library, and in 1924 he also founded the manuscript department, today's literary archive. In 1994, the Monacensia was expanded to include an exhibition area.
Frei leben! Die Frauen der Boheme 1890 - 1920
Monacensia im Hildebrandhaus
At a glance
Monacensia in the HildebrandhausMaria-Theresia-Str. 23
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Frei leben! Die Frauen der Boheme 1890 - 1920
Monacensia im Hildebrandhaus