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Prinzregentenstrasse 3 · interesting places nearby
Bayerisches Nationalmuseum information
Picture the classic 19th-century museum, a palatial neo-Classical edifice overflowing with exotic treasure and thought-provoking works of art, a repository of a nation’s history, a grand purpose built display case for royal trinkets, Church baubles and state-owned rarities – this is the Bavarian National Museum, a good old-fashioned museum for no-nonsense museum lovers.
Filling 40 rooms over three floors, there’s a lot to get through so be prepared for at least two hours’ legwork.
Most start on the 1st floor where hall after hall is packed with baroque, mannerist and Renaissance sculpture, ecclesiastic treasures (check out all those wobbly Gothic ‘S’ figures), Renaissance clothing and one-off pieces such as the 1000-year-old St Kunigunde’s chest fashioned in mammoth ivory and gold. Climb to the second floor to the rococo,Jugenstil and modern periods, represented by priceless collections of Nymphenburg and Meissen porcelain, Tiffany glass, Augsburg silver and precious items used by the Bavarian royal family. Also up here is a huge circular model of Munich in the first half of the 19th century, shortly after it was transformed into a capital fit for a kingdom.
It’s easy to miss, but the building’s basement also holds an evocative collection of Krippen (nativity scenes), some with a Cecil B DeMille–style cast of thousands. Retold in everything from paper to wood to resin, there are Christmas story scenes here from Bohemia, Moravia and Tyrol, but the biggest contingent hails from Naples. Also down here is the excellent museum shop.