Munich is blessed with an abundance of wonderful museums, and it’s sometimes hard to decide which museum to visit (first). Here’s a list of some of the best museums in Munich; and if you are here in October, don’t miss the Long Night of Museums: Munich’s art galleries, museums and cultural institutions stay open past midnight and offer many special exhibitions, readings, concerts, and film screenings.
Close to Munich's English Garden is a unique ensemble of three museums, each of them highlighting a different period in European art. Start with the Alte Pinakothek, home to over 800 European masterpieces from the Middle Ages to the end of the Rococo. One of the highlights is its Ruben’s collection, one of the largest of its kind in the world. If you want to see art from the 19th century, head next door, where the Neue Pinakothek takes over…
The Neue Pinakothek features art and sculpture from the late 18th to the beginning of the 20th century. Highlights include German art of the 19th century with paintings from romanticist Caspar David Friedrich and the private art collection of King Ludwig I. There is also a fantastic collection of French impressionists including Monet, Degas, and Renoir.
The Pinakothek der Moderne, completed in 2002, is the largest museum for modern art in Germany. The vast gallery complex unites four collections under its roof: The State Graphic Collection with more than 400,000 prints, drawings and works on paper; the State Museum for Applied Arts; the Museum of Architecture of the Technical University of Munich, the largest specialist collection of its kind in Germany; and the State Gallery of Modern Art which showcases stars such as Picasso, Magritte, Kandinsky, Francis Bacon, and Warhol.
The Deutsches Museum (German Museum) is proud to be one of the oldest and largest science and technology museums in the world. It boasts an impressive collection of historic artifacts, from the first electric dynamo, and the first automobile, to the laboratory bench where the atom was first split. Other highlights of the museum include exhibitions on astronomy, transportation, mining, printing, and photography. If you bring the little ones, take them to “Kid’s Kingdom”, an interactive section with hundreds of kid-friendly activities.
Founded by King Maximilian in 1855 and located on royal Prinzregentenstrasse, the Bayrisches Nationalmuseum is home to the cultural and historical treasures of Bavaria; its art historical collection features art and sculptures from the Middle Ages all the way to Art Nouveau. In the folklore collection you can see traditional Bavarian furniture, pottery, costumes, and religious folklore; don’t miss the displays of woodcarvings where you can see century-old Nativity scenes and cribs.
The Lenbachhaus Museum is dedicated to paintings by Munich artists. It is famous for its wonderful collection of Expressionist art by the group “Der Blaue Reiter” (The Blue Rider), which was founded in Munich before the First World War and includes artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Franz Marc and August Macke. The museum is currently closed due to renovations but will reopen in spring 2013.
This being Munich, there is of course a museum dedicated to its most famous drink. Set in Munich’s oldest residential home from the 14th century, the Bier and Oktoberfest Museum explores the art and culture of beer making around the world, from the beer brewing pharaohs in Egypt, and the purity laws of the Bavarian monks, to today’s state-of-the-art breweries. The upper floor of the museum is about the cultural history of Oktoberfest.