Building and History
The building, erected in the style of historism by Gabriel von Seidl 1894-1900, is one of the most original and significant museum buildings of its time. It is situated in the Prinzregentenstrasse, one of the city's four royal avenues. The house replaced an older building which houses today the State Museum of Ethnology.
The museum was founded by king Maximilian II of Bavaria in 1855. It houses a large collection of European artifacts from the late antiquity until early 20th century. From the beginning the collection has been divided into two main groups: the art historical collection and the folklore collection.
A new building behind the museum houses the Bavarian State Archaeological Collection (Archäologische Staatssammlung) from the first settlement in the Paleolithic Ages through the Celtic civilization and the Roman period right up to the early Middle Ages.
Art historical collection
]] The art historical collection displays artworks in a tour through more than forty rooms from the hall for late antiquity and Romanesque art via the rooms for Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo art to the exhibits of Classicism and Art Nouveau. The museum exhibits especially ivory reliefs, goldsmith works, textiles, glass painting, tapestries and shrines. The displayed sculptures were created by foremost sculptors like Erasmus Grasser, Tilman Riemenschneider, Hans Multscher, Hans Leinberger, Adam Krafft, Giovanni Bologna, Hubert Gerhard, Adriaen de Vries, Johann Baptist Straub, Ferdinand Tietz, Ignaz Günther, Matthias Steinl, and Ludwig Schwanthaler.
The museum is also famous for its collections of courtly culture, musical instruments, furnitures, oil paintings, sketches, clocks, stoneware, majolica, miniatures, porcelain and faience. It has probably the world's best collection of the Nymphenburg porcelain figures of Franz Anton Bustelli (1723-63).
The western side wing of the museum houses The Bollert Collection with late medieval sculptures.
The folklore collection houses for example traditional Bavarian furnitures, rural pottery, crockery and religious folklore including an outstanding collection of Neapolitan, Sicilian, Tyrolian and Bavarian wood carvings including street scenes and Nativity Scenes.