The Urban Culture Collection owes its existence to the museum's reorientation around 1920, when it shifted its focus from historical events to local history and culture. Since then, the presentation of life in the city has been one of its core purposes.
This extremely extensive collection boasts many valuable items that offer insights into the city’s popular culture from the 18th century right up to the present day. In addition to our permanent exhibitions, “Typically Munich!” and “National Socialism in Munich”, we also mount one-off, special exhibitions. Since the fall of 2010, contemporary urban culture has been added to the collection’s main themes: social issues with a major impact on life in Munich today, such as mobility, migration, precarity, singles, gays and lesbians.
The museum’s Toy section was established as early as 1900. Its most prized exhibits include the original edition of Wilhelm Busch’s "Max und Moritz" from the Munich publisher Braun & Schneider (1865), hand-painted wooden toys based on designs by Richard Riemerschmid (ca. 1900), a doll created by the Munich artist Marion Kaulitz (ca. 1910) and toys made by the artist Ludwig Hohlwein for his children during the Second World War.
The religious artifacts, another key part of the collection, feature valuable individual assemblages relevant to art history. These include objects relating to the cult of Walpurgis, and the “Fatschenkind”, depictions of the enshrined baby Jesus in swaddling clothes based on an 18th century original from Munich (“Augustinerkindl”). The collection of crèches and nativity figurines is also significant, as is the array of wax goods which includes the assets of the famous Munich company Ebenböck with its account books, design portfolios and traditional cookie molds.
Items from the Popular Culture section have enthralled visitors at several exhibitions. “Oktoberfest 1810-2010”, our bicentenary exhibition, presented Munich’s oldest surviving beer barrel dating back to 1829 alongside the Charivari, a decorative chain worn by the former Director of Munich’s Tourism Office, Gabriele Weishäupl, featuring all the beer medallions available at the 1997 Oktoberfest.