German Museum: The largest Science and Technology Museum in the World

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The German Museum or as it is officially known as – the Deutsches Museum of Masterpieces of Science and Technology is the largest museums of the world dedicated to science and technology. Deutsches Museum is located in the German city of Munich.

Today, the museum houses more than 18,000 objects representing approximately 50 different fields of science and arts. Annually the museum receives a massive footfall of over 1.5 million individuals. The museum is open for public viewing along with being in association with the Leibniz Association for research and associated purposes.

An overview

If you think museums are big and boring well then the Deutsches Museum will put you to think again. It is not only one of the oldest but also the biggest museum which is dedicated to science and technology in the whole world. Both, the young and the old can have a great time at the most fascinating and interactive museum located in Munich. The museum is quite centrally located, on the Museumsinsel or the Museum Island in the river Isar. Along with housing the myriad exhibits, it also hosts many exhibitions concerning science, industrial production, energy, transport, communication, environment and much more. It is unlike any other museum in the world. The museum provides you with an interactive experience that is the visitors can touch and experience and also do as per the directions. They can also observe the different shapes of ships and learn as to how they create more or less waves in the water. Also be able to understand how the different chemical reacts when they come in contact with other materials and elements. As far as the younger lot is concerned, their fascination towards pressing the buttons is encouraged. For the older folks and students detailed information is also provided on the boards both in English and German for each and every experiment.

There is also a transportation exhibit towards which the young male population is attracted generally. The Deutsches Museum also house a complete submarine along with an airplane in all kinds of shapes and sizes and also a sailing ship among other things. Probably the most fascinating exhibit is the environment exhibit. When you enter the building the opening site is that of a huge transparent column filled with garbage. It symbolically represents the amount of garbage produced by one individual within a period of one year. There is also detailed information available on as to how this amount of waste is reduced, recycled and treated. Along with this there is also a module which descriptively elaborates upon facts and history of farming, water, air, climate, growth and pollution.

Altamira Cave is often regarded as the most unique feature of the German Museum. Originally the Altamira Cave is located in Spain which house the Stone Age paintings of animals. This site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Due to this very reason the caves began to experience decoration because of the many visitors and thereon they had to be closed shut for visitors.

It is also true that one day in any case is not enough to visit each of the exhibits. Visitors can therefore choose their desired and interest worthy sections at the entrance of the building and then make a move. Also, another matter of interest could be the two subsidiaries of the museum. They are: Verkehrszentrum or the transport centre at Theresienhöhe – here you can enjoy the many exhibitions associated with cars and trains, and Flugwerft Schleissheim which is a former Airfield located in Oberschleissheim – here you can watch and learn more about aircrafts.

The concept behind Deutsches Museum

Deutsches Museum operates with the declared vision through which they aim at bringing forth the vivid colours of various scientific and technology based endeavours to the common individual. In the same regard it begins with the historicity behind all forms of developments associated with science and technology along with its impact on the technical and social development. The museum also provides a collection of studies comprising of approximately 94,000 objects. For this purpose there is also a dedicated library which houses volumes and archival materials numbering over 850,000 along with a number of original documentations.

The Research Institute of Science and Technology History wing of the Deutsches Museum works in constant association with the Ludwig Maximilian University and the Technical University. This association began in 1963 under the leadership of Otto Meyer with the establishment of the Institute of the History of the Exact Science and art. There were also courses offered through another association which was with the Kerschensteiner Kolleg. They brought forward programs for both teachers and students concerning the history of the sciences and arts.

The many symbols of the Deutsches Museum

The History of the Museum’s Construction: The most important individual associated with the museum is its founding father Oskar von Miller. He conceived the construction of this museum in the year 1903. Since at that time no substitute building was available for the housing purposes of all the exhibits the requirement of formal building emerged and thus in the due course Deutsches Museum emerged. Temporary exhibits were conducted while this building was under construction in the vacant rooms of the Old National Museum. The German Museum was opened for public viewing in the year 1906 in the presence of Emperor Wilhelm II and at the same time the foundation stone for a new museum building was laid. For this purpose the city of Munich freed up a particular part of the Coal Islands which is in the river Isar.

The ingenious planners and builders had envisioned an engineering marvel, a masterpiece none like any other. Therefore, for this very purpose many of the newly introduced construction materials such as concrete and reinforced concrete cement were used. Upon its completion, Deutsches Museum became the largest reinforced concrete construction in Germany at the time. Interestingly enough, the museum tower itself was erected by using the latest compressed concrete process. The foundation of the museum building is supported by one hundred and twenty three columns whose lengths vary between six and nine metres. These pillars were rammed directly into the ground so that adequate support could be created. The actual foundation of this building consists of a 1.5 metre thick reinforced concrete slab.

As far as the new museum building is concerned, its plans were drawn at the hands of the Munich based architect Gabriel von Seidl. He and his team members conducted a preliminary study and then Gabriel von Seidl himself took over the actual structural planning. At the time when the first draft of the plans came through they became a matter of instant dispute between the numerous architects who were working in association with Gabriel von Seidl. Moreover, the focus of this controversy was primarily the façade and the shape of the pinnacle. However, a consensus was reached in the due course after many lengthy discussions. It took a while but the shell of the tower was finished by 1911-1912. In the following years with the arousing tensions of the World War sprouting up the completion of the museum building was conducted in batches, however the opening of the building could only happen in 1925.

Museum Tower: The Museum Tower is an integral symbol of the Deutsches Museum. Plans of this tower were deliberate and it was built with respect to the vision of the founder – Oskar von Miller. You can see large meteorological instruments on the very façade of the tower. This marked to further the aims of the museum society which was to instigate a matter of interest of the population towards the field of meteorology.

The Meteorological Instruments on the Tower: The many instrumental elements on the façade of the tower such as: the barometer, thermometer, hydrometer and anemometer mark the characteristic features of the building along with the aims of the museum as a whole. Work on these instruments was commenced in the year 1917 and for this purpose the museum staffs was in constant conversation with the many leading manufacturers of meteorological instruments. The idea was to source the best of the best instruments.

Most amount of difficulty was faced with respect to the transmission mechanism. The aim in this regard was to create a precise and sensitive measuring instrument which through large displays could present visible measurements from afar. The development of this mechanism was a matter of great challenge because the readings from these instruments were to be converted into the movement of the large sized arms on the very façade of the building. Thus, the contracts were given to the company of G. Lufft in Stuttgart for the barometer and also to the company of W. Lambrecht in Göttingen for the hygrometer. These companies donated the instruments that they made to the museum and regarded their achievements to be of great proportions. Thus they began to advertise using the museum tower. All the work on the instruments was also completed on time and presented before the opening exhibition of 1925. The thermometer was the only instrument which took a while to be completed and could only be put to operation in 1928.

Snippets from History

Before the beginning and also during the Second World War the control of the German Museum came into the hands of the Nazi Party. Moreover, the Nazi Party used the museum and its resources to further their propaganda causes through films and exhibits. At one point in time Russian labourers were housed here and it also functioned as a post office.

In the year 1944 when the war was nearing its end, the museum building was hit by the numerous airstrikes. As a result 80 % of the structure was destroyed along with damaging over 20% of the exhibits.

Following is a list of the permanent exhibits that can be seen at the German Museum:

  • Aerospace
  • Agriculture
  • Altamira Cave, reproduction of a Spanish cave with stone-age paintings
  • Amateur Radio
  • Astronautics
  • Astronomy
  • Bridge Building
  • Ceramics
  • Chemistry
  • Chronometry
  • Computers
  • Digital Imaging (under construction as of 2006)
  • Electrical Power
  • Energy Technology
  • Environment
  • Geodesy
  • Glass
  • History of the Deutsches Museum
  • Hydraulic Engineering
  • Machine Components
  • Machine Tools
  • Marine Navigation
  • Masterpieces
  • Mining (Historical and Modern)
  • Metallurgy
  • Microelectronics
  • Mineral Oil and Natural Gas
  • Music
  • Paper
  • Pharmacy
  • Physics
  • Power Machinery
  • Printing
  • Scientific Instruments
  • Technical Toys
  • Telecommunications
  • Textile Technology
  • Tunnel Construction
  • Weights and Measures

The English speaking population during their visit will indeed feel right at home because at the German Museum you have access to English speaking tour guides. These guides are not only well versed in the language but also hold considerable amount of knowledge pertaining to the various exhibits. At the museum visitors can also indulge in the specialised workshops and also attend the many public lectures which are open to individuals of age groups.