Monday, May 24, 2010
Every Engineers Favorite Museum
Marionplatz is the main square of Munchen. The Rat Haus (City Hall) was restored after its destruction in the war right up to the installation of the famous glockenspiel clock and animated figures. Every day at 11:00 they perform, big crowds of tourists gather to watch the spectacle.
Nearby is the Deutsche Museum, an extraordinary record of scientific and technological history. Established in the mid-1920s on an island in the Isar River previously hosting a large chemical plant, the museum exhibits a lot of cool stuff. The first German submarine, U1 (1906), is here with large parts of the hull cut away to allow us to see inside. The mining history exibit covers a third of a hectare on multiple layers in the building. Visitors wander through medieval tunnels watching silver miners, watch an operating steam waterpump and walk alongside aggressivce coal mining machines from the 1960s.
I have the priviledge of being guided by Georg Jochim one of the museum researchers. Georg is working on the effect of the "invention of America" on European thought. Once people got over the idea of the New World as Asia they had to try and figure out what it was. This has all kinds of interesting philosophical and material implications, not least upon the inhabitants of the new place.
The museum has a Greenland kayak and notes the influence of the Canadian canoe, displaying a German version for family camping.
Everybody likes to photographed with the Starfighter.
From the top of the Museum's tower we have a splendid view of the Isar River flowing through a green Munchen. After the war the City decided to rebuild their town in its previous low rise tradition. So while in the distance the huge scale of the Olympic stadium, sheltered by artifical hills made from the rubble of the bombed out buildings previously on the site, the large core of the city retains the prominent skyline of church steeples and medieval city buildings.