Offbeat Museums in Munich

There are over 40 museums in Munich.  I’ve been to a few of the big ones like the Deutsches Museum, one of Europe’s leading science and technology museums and the Pinakothek der Moderne, a modern art gallery

They are no doubt impressive, but they just don’t do it for me.  I leave feeling underwhelmed and like I should have enjoyed it more than I did. This is not the museum’s fault, it’s just that I much prefer quirkier offbeat museums like the World’s Largest Pig Museum in Stuttgart or the Bread Museum in Ulm or the German Emigration Center in Bremerhaven (my favorite museum that I’ve visited in Germany – so far).  Fortunately there are no shortage of quirky and offbeat museums in Munich.

Das Kartoffelmuseum (The Potato Museum) in Munich

With a description like “The Potato Museum is the world’s only museum devoted exclusively to the potato in art…” how can I NOT visit the Potato Museum.  Admittedly I haven’t been yet, but I’m going on the weekend. There are eight themed rooms ranging from history, to market scenes, to the most intriguing sounding multi-talented potato room.   Entrance is free.  The Potato Museum is only open on Fridays from 9:00 – 6:00 pm and Saturdays from 11:00 – 5:00 pm.  For further info (in German only) see Das Kartoffelmuseum.

Bier and Oktoberfest Museum in Munich

Bier steins collection at the Bier and Oktoberfest Museum in Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Beer steins on display at the Bier and Oktoberfest Museum.

Everything you realize that you didn’t know about Oktoberfest.  The Bier and Oktoberfest Museum was the first museum I visited when I moved to Munich.  It’s housed in the oldest residential house in Munich dating back to 1327.  It has rickety steep stairs, small cozy rooms and ceilings with dangerously low wooden beams.  All of the signs are in German, so visitors who don’t understand German may not get a lot out of it. But it is fun to look at the collections and walk through the house – the house itself was my favorite part.  And a beer is included with your entrance ticket.  The Bier and Oktoberfest Museum is open Tues – Sat from 1:00 to 6:00 pm and closed on holidays.  Visit the Bier and Oktoberfest Museum website for more info.

Bavaria Film Studios (Bavaria Filmstadt) in Munich

Bavaria Film Studios in Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Photo courtesy of Bavaria Film Studios in Munich

While not technically a museum, Bavaria Film Studios does provide insights into German movie culture.  Its to Germans what Universal Studios is to Americans.  I haven’t been yet but when I do go will definitely go on the tour to get the insights.  The English language tour, complete with a 4D motion simulator cinema is at 1:00 pm.  Many of the movies might not be familiar to English speakers with the exception of the NeverEnding Story, for which there’s even a ride.  That for me is reason enough to go! See Bavaria Film Studios‘ website for further info.

Alpine Museum (Alpines Museum) in Munich

Alpine Museum in Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Photo courtesy of the Alpine Museum in Munich

As an avid hiker I was eager to check out the Alpine Museum and did so on a Sunday when it was pouring rain – in other words when I wasn’t hiking. The most fascinating (and disturbing) part of the museum to me was learning about the Alpine Club’s ties with  the Nazis.  It was the first large sports club to exclude Jews in the 1930s and trained soldiers from 1933-1945.  My German husband, J.P. wasn’t aware of this either, but wasn’t surprised.  I, on the other hand was shocked.  I’ve always considered hiking and mountaineering to be non-political  – how wrong I was.  The museum itself was interesting (if you’re into hiking/mountaineering), but it was the Berg Heil! Alpenverein und Bergsteigen 1918-1945 ( Berg Heil! Alpine Club and Climbing 1918-1945) Exhibition that is on until June 24, 2012  that really held my attention.  Most of the signs are in English so non-German visitors will also benefit.  The Alpine Museum is open Tue-Fri from 1:00-6:00 pm, Sat & Sun from 11:00-6:00 pm and closed on holidays.  See the Alpines Museum website for further info (in German only)

Although I’m not a museum person per-see  I’m open to your recommendations for museums in Munich that you’ve enjoyed and will check them out…on a rainy day of course!

Check out these posts about museums in other parts of Germany from the Blogger Stammtisch:


  1. says

    What a great find of offbeat museums! I love visiting these unique places too. I absolutely adored Neverending Story when I was a child so a visit to the Bavaria Film Studios sounds exciting and the ride sounds interesting. The potato museum will have to be on my Munich itinerary whenever we go.

    • says

      @Mary – I loved the NeverEnding Story as well, but need a refresher since I haven’t seen it in years. I’ve seen been to the Potato Museum and it was OK, but not as quirky as I was hoping for.

  2. says

    My top pick would be the film studio! Quite a lot of German-produced TV series are popular in France actually. Well, they mostly target an older audience but still I’d be curious.

    • says

      @Zhu – Really? I didn’t know that German film was popular in France. I really want to get to Bavaria Film Studios as well. It would also be a good intro to German film, a lot of it which I’m not familiar with.

  3. says

    My husband refuses to eat any more potatoes as he says his mother made him eat at least a ton growing up. I still think he’d enjoy this museum. And very interesting info that came out of your visit to the Alpine Museum. I like an offbeat museum too but I seem to remember a great art gallery that I visited in Munich a long time ago.

    • says

      @Leigh – I just visited it and it was OK, but not as quirky as I had hoped it would be. Regarding the Art Gallery, you’re probably refering to the Pinakothek. There are 3 of them (Old, New and Modern) and are very famous in Munich. I’ve only visited the modern one and discovered that I’m not a fan of modern art.

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