June 28, 2019

Musuem Review - Bavarian Military Museums

Proofreader and general friend of the blog dndnrsn was in Bavaria for a few months recently, and spent some time visiting museums. He's reviewed several that have military/history interest for us.1

Bavarian Army Museum/WWI Museum/Bavarian Police Museum

There are three linked museums built into historically significant old castle/fort buildings. Entrance is €1 to enter each on Sundays - otherwise it’s €3.50, or 7 to see all 3, with reduced entry for some. Therefore, best visited on a Sunday.

Look, the 2nd ed AD&D weapons section.2

When I went, the main exhibition of the Bavarian Army Museum was closed due to renovation work. There’s an exhibition of medieval weaponry and photography thereof, with German and English text. There was also an exhibit about the Austro-Prussian war. Some interesting stuff, and my German was enough to piece most of it together.

The signage in the exhibits was good - although, as noted, largely in German - however, the signage within the museum wasn’t great, and the signage around the museum was downright bad. It was difficult to find my way around, and I spent ten or so minutes going around the museum trying to figure out if I’d missed something. In general, Germans aren’t great at external signage, I was to discover.

The museum is relatively modern renovations built into an old building. Lots of light, a nice space. Clean washrooms, which is a bonus. Is visiting worth it? If you’re in Ingolstadt already and it’s a Sunday, sure. There’s also high quality free pamphlets and even a couple little books.

The WWI museum was relatively old-fashioned (no newfangled multimedia stuff, and a few of the exhibits were a little beaten up - one of the old-style plaster models was missing a couple fingers, etc) WWI museum. Historical coverage quite good: good job of explaining prewar militarism, how the war started, the strategic dimension, the home front, etc.

The museum also includes a few other exhibits. There’s one on the German mountain troops, 1914-39, an exhibit on Bavarian involvement in the 1944 bomb plot against Hitler, A real standout was an exhibition on the turbulent years of 1918-23.

For some reason I remember this 20 billion mark note.

Is it worth it? For a euro, definitely. If your German is worse than mine, but you know about WWI, it’s visually interesting. You’re unlikely to see a lot of the Bavarian-specific stuff (especially the 1918-23 exhibit) outside of Bavaria. If your German is better than mine but you don’t know about WWI, you’ll learn about WWI.

The Bavarian police museum, unsurprisingly, covers the Bavarian police up to the end of the Cold War. Text-heavier than the previous two, and it’s a topic I don’t know a great deal about. This was especially the case in the Hinterkaifeck exhibit, about a famous unsolved mass murder. Note that that exhibit is an extra €5.

Is it worth it? Of the three, if there’s one you have to miss, make it this one, unless you really have an interest in police stuff. Otherwise, you could kill some time looking at interesting artifacts; it’s only a euro. I wouldn’t recommend the Hinterkaifeck exhibit unless your German is relatively good.


In the lovely city of Passau, 4 euros for an adult.

Either you find archaeology interesting, or you don’t.

Three rivers meet at Passau, and there’s some easily defensible terrain, so it was an important settlement even before the Romans showed up. This museum covers the Roman period plus a bit before and after it.

Most “major” text is in English as well as German, although German is useful to read the labels of artifacts and such. Internal signage is good (be aware that, approaching from at least one direction, the museum appears to be some random person’s house). A modern, well-lit, well-put-together museum (with a very nice washroom).

A pleasant surprise and definitely worth it; I found it worth the trip to Passau alone. It’s one of those little museums that turns out to be really good. I spent about two hours there, although I didn’t watch any of the videos. The general quality of exhibits was good - everything felt “quality” and there were no dingy bits or neglected corners.

Oberhaus Museum

Also in Passau, 5 euros to get in.

Some of the fortifications, seen from a little distance away.

This is a museum in the old medieval fort. It’s got a commanding view of the area, which is really quite pretty. There are several sub-museums here, and I only saw the one focusing on the history of the town and the fort. Major signage in German, English, and Czech. Some material, and the notes on the artifacts, only in German.

The major problem here was bad directional signage. I wasn’t sure I’d seen everything, and it wasn’t clear what order things were intended to be visited in past a certain point.

Definitely worth it, even not seeing everything. However, if you have to choose between this one and the Roman museum, go with the Roman museum.

Dachau Memorial

Near the town of Dachau, in the vicinity of Munich. Free entrance, 4 euro audio guide.

The "Bunker"

The site of the former KZ Dachau. A mixture of the original buildings and reconstructions, with a small museum. The museum gives a very good historical overview, in German and English, and the audio guide was actually quite good - it adds a lot, which is more than is usually the case in my experience.

The grounds themselves are imposing. The original barracks are gone, leaving a vast flat area. The special prison “bunker” is creepy, as is the crematorium tucked away from the rest of the camp. Chapels have been built, but I didn’t visit them - I didn’t have time; although the website recommends 4 hours to visit, and I only had 3, I think 5 or 6 would be more reasonable if planning a day trip.

Definitely worth seeing if you are in the Munich area; worth travelling an hour or two. Dachau isn’t hard to reach from Munich as long as you can figure out the public transit. A bit difficult to approach from one side - the entrance is on the other side but signage doesn’t explain that.

Deutsches Museum Flugwerft Schliessheim

In Oberschleissheim, a bit north of Munich, 7 euros

A home-made plane that was part of an attempt to escape East Germany.

An old and historically interesting airfield (existing from WWI to today, still operating to some extent) with a museum that includes a large, if somewhat random, collection of aircraft. I enjoyed the historical side of things, while someone with an interest in the technical side of things would find entertainment in the aircraft exhibit. Most signage in German and English, some only in German.

Deutsches Museum

In Munich, 14 euros.

The best shot of the U-1 I was able to take; not that great though.

A big science-and-technology museum. Lots of stuff; I was there for 3 hours, and you could definitely spend a whole day there. There’s probably something to interest you - I found the naval stuff most interesting, because it was heavy with historical context and the like. But there’s also a collection of sundials up on the roof (nice view, too), and a reproduction of the Altamira cave paintings. Just to give a few examples. They’ve got U-1, the pre-WWI submarine, on display, which is cool. Most things, but not all, are in both German and English.

Worth the visit unless the idea of a science-and-technology museum utterly bores you. If you have kids, that probably enters into the equation: kids love this sort of thing, and it’s got a kid-specific area.

Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände

In Nuremberg, this is the museum on the grounds where the Nazi Party had their big rallies. The grounds are now a public park with some signs around, free to the public. The museum, in the Congress Hall, is 6 euros to get in.

The Congress Hall.

The museum offers a fairly basic coverage of National Socialism, with some extra focus on Nuremberg’s role as the “capital” of the movement. The signage is completely in German, but the text (not captions of images, however) is reproduced with a free audio guide. Personally, I would have preferred text in other languages - I read faster than I listen - but it was nothing I didn’t already know.

If you’re in Nuremberg the grounds are worth checking out. The museum was a bit of a disappointment - anyone with even a relatively limited historical interest will probably have read much of the stuff before; a caveat is that I really don’t like spoken text (audiobooks, Youtube videos of people talking, etc).

1 If you'd like to contribute a review, email me at battleshipbean at gmail.

2 All photos courtesy of dndnrsn.


  1. June 28, 2019Chuck said...

    Look, the 2nd ed AD&D weapons section.

    10,000 slightly different polearms - Yeah this is accurate.

Comments from SlateStarCodex:

Leave a comment

All comments are reviewed before being displayed.

Name (required):

E-mail (required, will not be published):


You can use Markdown in comments!

Enter value: Captcha