Germany: Learning in Deutsches Museum

Travel Period : 8th June 2013

Location: Munich City, Bavaria State (German: Bayern)

{ This post is part of the post ‘One day in Munich City’ }

After a quick sandwich lunch in the hotel, we walked down the stairs at the back of it, crossing a bridge to reach the Deutsches Museum (“Doy-chers”) . It is not only the largest Science and Technology museum in the world but also a must-visit for us due to the Model Railway Demonstration. Railway is our boy’s favourite transport.

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20130608_DeutschesMuseum02 Entering the large compound of the museum, we had to walk for a while before we could reach the front door.
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As the museum was large and housed a large variety of exhibits, we wasted no time in searching for the ‘Transport’ Section. The prominent signs hanging from the ceiling gave us clear directions.

[ Shipping ]

On entering, a huge fishing vessel was on display and we spent some time looking at the models of different types of ships.
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[ Aeronautics ]

Our spirits lifted the moment we walked in here because there was a large variety of real aeroplanes on display. It’s not something we usually see in museums and we could see these now because the hall displaying them is really huge! According to the information, there are over 50 original aircraft exhibits ranging from Lilienthal to Airbus. It was a complete overview of the history of aviation.

Some even had platforms beside them for us to walk inside of them to take a look. As we walked, we saw some smaller models of Lufthansa, the flight we took to Germany. Dar was very excited because he likes the Lufthansa plane so much. He used to be only interested in trains but since coming to Germany, he started getting interested in planes too.

The information of each plane was compiled in a signboard in front of each display with their pictures in action and I’m glad they placed it at a child’s height so Dar could read it easily too. By the way, we were happy that the information was in both English and German so we could learn.

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[ Kids’ Kingdom – Kinderreich ]

Official Website

As we still have plenty of areas to cover in this little time, we quickly went to the Kids Section that we had read about for Dar to do some hands-on exploration.  It was indeed a big area but disappointingly, we felt there was not much things for a child to do. Well, I thought there would be a lot more. There seemed to be more computer kiosks than exhibits for the kids to play with. Dar wouldn’t know what to do with the comp and the games were in German.

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There was a real-size fire engine truck however and Dar got to explore the vehicle. They opened a front door permanently and allowed children to sit in the front seat to ‘drive’ the car. He had fun with the steering wheel and pretended he was driving.
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We came to the musical section soon and he played with the percussions such as drums, chimes and xylophone. He also played with the piano (his first time) and churned out a simple tune.

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There was section on the solar system. We sat in a dark theatre to watch a presentation on a small model town, telling us about the sun and changes in day and night. It was quite interesting to Dar though we didn’t understand a word in German.

He also tried other things such as soft building gigantic bricks to build a structure and did some water observation at this section about water transport system.

20130608_DeutschesMuseum10 We soon left the section and went to explore other parts of the museum. On coming up one level, we saw the huge cross-section of an old Lufthansa plane. The cockpit was on display and we marveled at the huge number of buttons and controls in the front and on the ceiling, exclaiming that it really looks difficult being a pilot.

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[ Astronautics ]

We walked up the stairs to higher levels to reach the Astronautics exhibition where we could learn all about space. It is also one of our favourite subjects. We walked into a dark gallery and Dar named all the planets just by a glance at the pictures.
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We had an informative time going through the exhibits of space information, stuff about the astronauts, different types of rockets and technology they used to go to space.
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[ Model Railway ]

Finally, it was nearly 4pm. We quickly went down to the section housing the highlight of our trip, the Model Railway Demonstration. There are actually three timings for the demonstration and we caught the last one 16:00. As the door was not opened, we waited outside looking at the model trains. Dar couldn’t tear his eyes away from his dream trains. They even had the TGV (the high-speed rail of France) and Shinkansen (High-speed rail of Japan). We knew they were really expensive from our earlier visit to the toy store though so we pretended not to hear his plea of  “I want this…I really love that…”

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Soon, a group of people gathered outside the gate with us. A staff opened the door and we all proceeded in to find a nice seat in front of the exhibit. The seats were arranged in a curved convex arrangement so everybody could have a good view of the huge complex model consisting of landscape, trains, buildings, people and structures. The amazing thing is that this creation is modeled after real life and according to the website,

“Everything works just like the huge originals, but all of it is just 1/87th as big as in reality. “

The best view is right in front of the staff controlling the trains through a computer system and we sat right there. To complement the movement, there was even a close-up real-time projection of the train in action, showing its journey. As the staff was explaining in German, we didn’t get any of the information said but we still enjoyed looking at controlled trains.

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Dar soon got restless and walked around the front looking closely at the exhibit, following the trains along their paths. Fortunately, he was not too tall to block others’ views.

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At one time, several trains could be moving at the same time. We got busy trying to locate each train moving. Some passed through tunnels, some over bridges, some were mountain railways. Finally, his favourite train, the high-speed rail ICE, got into action and he exclaimed in excitement. We were very amused but glad he was enjoying himself in his favourite world.

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This caught my eye. They placed this scenario of a person jumping from the bridge into this lake full of rocks to swim. Hope he did not get injured. 🙂

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[ Tunnelling – Underground Mine ]

After about 20 mins, the ‘show’ ended. We walked out undecided on where else to go since the museum would be closing soon at 5pm. However, we soon saw a sign on ‘Mines’ and decided to enter it. We had always been interested in mines too since we went to one in Taiwan.

What we didn’t expect was an interesting 9-mins walk through a large underground tunnel exhibit of mines. We felt we were in a real mine tunnel as we walked along slopes with stony grey walls and orange lighting. There were also wax figurines of miners at work and detailed information on mine equipments. We were just three people walking in these dark tunnels so it felt quite exciting and eerie at the same time.

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Pretending to push the heavy coals…
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Looking down through the mine tunnel. We passed it by when we were underground just now.

The mining section of the museum consists of an itinerary roughly 700 m long. Some three quarters of this are underground and provide a realistic impression of the atmosphere in a mine. It shows mining techniques from the 16th century to the present and gives an impressive picture of the conditions below ground. The mine extends over three levels, linked by narrow steps and slopes

At the end of the tunnel walk, was an elaborate setup of the entire mining system. Quite informative. We then walked up the stairs to the higher level. A staff locked the door after we came out of the exit even though there was still about 20 mins before the museum closed for the day. They also started closing the entrance. We commented to each other that it was fortunate we spotted it just now and had a quick tour of it. We really enjoyed the walk a lot.

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Though we didn’t get to explore the other areas of the museum, we were satisfied that we had picked out the major areas that Dar was interested in. It would certainly take days to finish exploring the entire place. Overall, we were delighted that it was a kids friendly museum that allowed our child to be hands-on, to touch and explore the objects. Everything was displayed thoughtfully in an interesting manner. Certainly not a ‘boring’ museum.

The continuation of our day tour in Munich could be read in the post, “One Day In Munich City“.

[ Info ]

Deutsches Museum (“Doy-chers”)is a  Science and Technology Museum which consists of areas such as Natural Sciences, Materials & Production, Energy, Communication, Musical Instruments, Kids Kingdom and New Technologies.

We visited the ‘Transport’ and ‘Kids Kingdom’ exhibits and one of the ‘Materials & Production’ exhibits. Time we took to explore:About 2 hours 10 mins. (We took too much time in shopping for the model train earlier or we would have entered the place sooner)

Entrance Fee : Adults: €8.50 , Schoolchildren/students €3 (Free for children under 6)
Opening Hours:  9.00 – 17.00

{Next : The Romantic Neuschwanstein Castle}