Bavarian National Museum

Das Bayerische Nationalmuseum

Discover exhibits from two millennia at the Bavarian National Museum

A visit to the Bavarian National Museum on Prinzregentenstrasse in Munich is a journey through European art and cultural history. Exhibits from two millennia can be admired. These include regional and European paintings, sculptures, crafts, ivory and goldsmith's work, tapestries, furniture, weapons and exquisite porcelain.

Gallery: Impressions of the Bavarian National Museum

Collections: Treasures of our past

Bayerisches Nationalmuseum Silbergeschirr, Foto: Bayerisches Nationalmuseum
Foto: Bayerisches Nationalmuseum

The Bavarian National Museum gives its visitors a comprehensive picture of European art and history. On a tour through the rooms, which are individually furnished to suit the exhibits, the visitor roams through many epochs: From Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Baroque era and well into the 19th century and Art Nouveau. Changing special exhibitions not only complete the range of exhibits, but also encourage visitors to revisit the museum.

The collection: sculptures, porcelain, furniture...

Bayerisches Nationalmuseum Skulptur, Foto: Bayerisches Nationalmuseum
Foto: Bayerisches Nationalmuseum

The core of the collection is the royal art possession of the Wittelsbach dynasty. Another figurehead is the internationally renowned sculpture collection. It provides a first impression of the range of German sculpture from the 13th to the 19th century and is complemented by the major works of other European schools. Among the exhibits are works by Tilman Riemenschneider, Ignaz Günther and Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, as well as Adriaen de Vries and Giovanni Bologna.

In the specialist departments you can marvel at fine porcelain, ivory, musical instruments, furniture, textiles, goldsmithing and much more. In the basement, the folklore department with a collection of nativity scenes that is unique in the world awaits visitors. On display are figurative Christmas scenes created in the Alpine region and in the nativity centres of Italy between 1700 and 1900. One wing of the museum building houses the collection of the Berlin Justice Councilor Dr. Gerhard Bollert. It is considered the last large German private collection of medieval sculptures.

New permanent exhibition "Baroque Luxury"

Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, München, Figur: Dottore aus der Commedia dell'arte, Foto: Bayerisches Nationalmuseum München
Foto: Bayerisches Nationalmuseum München

In twelve newly furnished rooms in the west wing, the National Museum displays some 1600 treasures relating to the pomp and luxury of the courtly world. The numerous porcelain and ivory figures, masterfully decorated jugs and collector's items from the courtly workshops are handcrafted works of art.

Early Meissen, Frankenthal and Nymphenburg porcelain, such as the figure "Dottore and Octavio from the Commedia dell'arte" (left in the picture) are among the highlights of the collection. Three halls alone are dedicated to fashion, clothing and accessories from the world of rococo and baroque. For example, visitors can see hand-painted cotton fabrics of the "Robe á la française", which was en vogue at the time, and extravagant men's skirts.

Gallery: Impressions of the nativity collection

Branch museums throughout Bavaria

Special collections such as the Meißen Porcelain Collection at Lustheim Palace in Oberschleissheim can be viewed in the many branch museums of the Bavarian National Museum. They are spread all over Bavaria. There, visitors can view art and cultural history exhibits that are of importance in the respective region. Especially interesting for children and adults alike is the school museum in Ichenhausen. Over several thousand years of developments in the school system, from the slate tablet to the writing desk, can be explored here.

Museum history

The Bavarian National Museum is one of the great art and cultural history museums in Europe and dates back to its foundation by King Maximilian II in 1855. However, the building in Prinzregentenstraße is not the original museum: a first building was opened on October 12th 1867 in Maximilianstraße - today the State Museum of Ethnology. However, because this building showed massive damage after a few years and gradually became too small for the collections, the Bavarian Parliament decided to build a new building in 1892.

The Munich architect Gabriel Seidl designed the new museum in the style of historicism. On September 29th 1900, the new Bavarian National Museum opened on Prinzregentenstrasse, which today is one of the most important and original museum buildings. The architecture alone is worth a visit for its mixture of Romanticism, Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance. The interior design of the halls is also impressive, as it is individually adapted to the works of art.

Shortly after the opening, the new museum building in the north was extended by some halls and a workshop wing. During the Second World War, the Bavarian National Museum was heavily damaged. Bomb impacts led again and again to fires. After the end of the war, numerous reconstructions began, so that the public was able to visit the first halls again as early as 1947. In 1978, a complete renovation was ordered, in the course of which new workshops and studios were built on Himbselstrasse and Oettingenstrasse.

Exhibition "Did kids really play with this?"

Spielzeug aus der Dauerausstellung "Spielten damit wirklich Kinder?" aus dem Bayerischen Nationalmuseum., Foto: Bayerisches Nationalmuseum
Foto: Bayerisches Nationalmuseum

 In a small exhibition, the Bavarian National Museum is showing around 60 objects from its top-class, in-house toy collection. Selected toys from the 19th century are presented in the exhibition rooms next to the museum shop. The filigree, old pieces bear witness to the importance of their functions at that time and represent a cross-section of the playing preferences of well-off circles. Not infrequently the educational benefit was more important than the joy of play.

Events at the Bavarian National Museum

Bayerisches Nationalmuseum Mutter mit Kind, Foto: Bayerisches Nationalmuseum
Foto: Bayerisches Nationalmuseum

In addition to the classical guided tours, the Bavarian National Museum also offers workshops, lectures or seminars and concerts. Furthermore, every year in October the museum is one of the venues for the Long Night of the Museums. Children can celebrate their birthday in the museum's own "gold workshop" and immerse themselves in a particularly beautiful world. The gilder Ulrike Bläser M.A. demonstrates how shells or small baroque ornaments are covered with gold leaf. Then everyone is allowed to lend a hand, until at the end: There is a surprise!

Study again at age 50 or older

 Who said old age is boring? The Bavarian National Museum offers a unique opportunity to those interested in art who want to study again and are already 50 years old: in the conference room of the Bollert Collection, art history is taught by the Winckelmann Academy. Even works of art from the museum itself can be used as study objects and free excursions can be taken. Neither a high school diploma nor an academic degree is required to participate.

Video: Ivory art (technique and history)

Admission fees

Museum and Collection Bollert: 7 Euro (reduced 6 Euro)
Reduced admission on Sunday: 1 Euro

Special exhibition, Museum and Collection Bollert: 9 Euro (concessions 8 Euro)

Up to the age of 18: free admission

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