Munich’s Deutsches Museum is one of the largest natural science museums in the world. In around 20 departments, originals and models illustrate how technology and the laws of nature work. The museum has been closed seven years long for its renovation and expansion. The first part of the massive reconstruction opened on July 7, 2022.

The first part of the building on Munich‘s Museum Island has been completely renovated and brought up to the latest content and technical standards, a new design, new concepts and new visitor guidance.

In total, there are 19 new permanent exhibitions to visit at the updated Munich Deutsches Museum – from model railways to atomic physics, from electronics to health, from “bridges and hydraulic engineering” to musical instruments. Many of the museum’s highlights can be seen again – such as the “First Diesel Engine” or the Microscopic Theatre, the flight simulator, the huge Airbus fuselage cross-section or the famous “Nuclear Fission Table” in Chemistry. The new structure displays 60% more objects and a structures than prior to renovation.

The new aerospace hall alone has an exhibition area of almost 7,000 square metres on a total surface of around 20.000 square metres. The aerospace looks then almost like a museum on its own and is certainly the highlight of the new building.

“Visitors can experience aviation history here as well as the race into space – large aircraft and the Spacelab hang in the air here,” explains Wolfgang M. Heckl, general director of Munich’s Deutsches Museum. “And we have re-staged the aircraft and explained them in a new way – it is hard to escape the fascination of flying here.” The historical context of the so-called “wonder weapons” of the Nazis with their terrible side effects is clearly shown here – something that was explained in a very understated way in earlier exhibitions of the Deutsches Museum.

The entrance to the Deutsches Museum (Photo: Deutsches Museum-Alexander Goettert)

New orientation system

The most visible part of the reconstruction of the Munich Deutsches Museum is the new entrance. Visitors now can enter via a multi-storey glass building on the Corneliusbrücke. “This is a temporary solution: in 2028, the entrance will move back to the museum courtyard,” explains construction manager of the Deutsches Museum, Dieter Lang. “But we are pleased to have found such an attractive solution for the interim period, which with its transparent appearance also stands for the new openness of the Museum Island.”

The riverside road along the Isar river on the entire Museum Island and the Museum Garden are now also accessible in the evening.

Visitors will have access to a new guidance and orientation system that solved a major problem of the former Deutsches Museum. Due to the size and the highly convoluted layout of the building, some visitors found it difficult to find their way around the building – now the building is clearly laid out and easier to explore than ever before thanks to digital and analogue orientation aids.

For the first time in its history, the institution is also completely barrier-free. “We put a lot of effort into our barrier-free concept,” says Dieter Lang, site manager of the Deutsches Museum: lifts and individual ramps make the entire building accessible for wheelchair users. Special displays are made available for visual or hearing-impaired visitors.

Phase two to open in 2028

The Deutsches Museum will also turn into a destination for foodies thanks the new roof terrace gastronomy next to the space exhibition. The “Frau im Mond” (“Woman in the Moon”) with 80 seats inside the building and around 100 partly covered seats on the terrace allows spectacular views over the Isar to the Alps. The “Frau im Mond” will also be accessible outside the museum’s opening hours with its own lift.The name of the restaurant comes from the science fiction silent film “Frau im Mond” by Fritz Lang from 1929.

As soon as the first part is open, the renovation of the second half of the building will begin. The project is expected to be fully completed in 2028, on the 125th anniversary of the museum’s founding.

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