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Munich’s more unusual museums

Margit Grobbel, content editor for social network InterNations, has some tips on the city’s less-known cultural institutions.

I’ve lived in Munich for (most of) the past 12 years, and I’ve imbibed a hefty dose of Bavarian Lokalpatriotismus (‘local patriotism’) along the way. I delight in showing off ‘my’ beautiful city to visiting friends, both from other parts of Germany and from abroad. Most casual visitors have heard of Munich’s famous museums: science nerds gravitate to the Deutsches Museum, while lovers of art history want to spend an afternoon in the Pinakotheken.

However, Munich also houses a wealth of small and/or quirky museums, which even long-term residents may not know of.

Unsurprisingly, there is a local Beer and Oktoberfest Museum. Myself, I’m not a big fan of our renowned beer festival – too crowded, too expensive, too many dead drunk people on public transport. But plenty of friends suddenly remember that they’ve wanted to see me for ages when September comes around. As an alternative to joining in their inebriated exploits on the Wies’n, I drag them along to said museum. It’s housed in a 14th-century building near the medieval city gate, which makes for a quaint atmosphere. More importantly, after learning all about the tradition of brewing in Bavaria, and the history of the Oktoberfest, you can join a beer tasting in the cosy restaurant /pub. Prost!

By way of contrast, on sunny days it’s fun to ascend to 180 metres above Munich to look at a small rock ‘n roll collection which prides itself on being ‘the highest Rock Museum in the world’. The Olympia Tower, looming over the expansive grounds of the 1972 Summer Games, is host to this hodge-podge of rock’n’roll memorabilia on one of its observation platforms. You probably have to be a die-hard fan of classic rock to properly appreciate the exhibits, like guitars signed by KISS, microphones from the Beatles’ recording equipment, or a fully functional jukebox. But it is worth going there for the absolutely breathtaking views – hence my emphasis on sunny skies.

During the Christmas season, I usually suggest a special tour through the Bavarian National Museum, especially when asked to come up with family-friendly activities for friends with kids. The museum houses an extensive collection of nostalgic nativity scenes, and I have fond childhood memories of my own parents taking me there on a Christmas-themed daytrip. It’s the perfect opportunity for getting into the holiday spirit.

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