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We all use electricity to generate heat or cold, for lighting and to operate machines, equipment and computers. The exhibition shows how electricity is generated and distributed.

Exhibition closed

The second half of the museum is currently being renovated, which is why this area has been closed since July 2022. The modernisation of the exhibition is scheduled to be completed in 2028, the 125th anniversary of the museum's founding.

What is electric power?

As electrical energy is a universal and convenient form of energy, it has quickly spread worldwide. Electricity consumption will increase further in the future in order to lower the total energy requirement and thus to drastically reduce our carbon footprint.

The current exhibition contains two rooms and presents the generation and distribution of electrical energy as well as its conversion for the consumer. Historic exhibits from the three major areas of electrical engineering, electrical systems engineering and high-voltage technology open up key perspectives on these subareas.

1800Alessandro Volta generated direct current with a battery for the first time.

1866Werner von Siemens develops the first dynamoelectric machine.

1882Test of the first 2 kV direct current transmission between Miesbach and Munich.

Exhibition themes

Direct current

Alessandro Volta generated direct current with a battery for the first time in 1800. Around 70 years later, it became apparent that this direct current can be generated much more cheaply with dynamos. From the 1880s, the first systems were set up primarily for lighting purposes as a direct current network. From around 1900, alternating current made the most of its advantages and direct current was restricted to niche applications for a long time. In recent years, it has been experiencing a renaissance.

Alternating and three-phase current technology

Direct current is not transformable and this restricts the range of the supply. The invention of the transformer in around 1885 made a low-loss transmission with a high alternating voltage possible. However, there were initially no suitable motors for this type of current.

The 15kV energy transmission from the Neckar power station in Lauffen, Germany to the International Electrotechnical Exhibition in Frankfurt, Germany in 1891 proved the cost-effectiveness of three-phase current. Nowadays, three-phase current dominates electrical engineering throughout the world.

Power stations

The power stations’ generators transform kinetic energy, which is generally generated by steam turbines, into electrical energy. There are also hydroelectric and wind power stations. In order to secure the energy supply in conjunction with other power stations, the generation of electricity must be regulated.

Power grids for the distribution of electrical energy

Power grids consist of cables or overhead lines as well as substations with transformers, switches, busbars and transducers. They transmit the electrical energy from the power stations to the consumers. The exhibition presents examples of all the important components – often as a cross-section to give you an insight.

Guided tour through the exhibition

Brief tour through the electric power exhibition

During the tour, curator Frank Dittmann shows some highlights of the Electric Power exhibition. The film is currently only available in German.

Lightning show

Demonstration of the high-voltage installation

Short video containing highlights of the demonstration of our high-voltage installation. The film is currently only available in German.

From the collection

Dynamomaschine von Siemens, Modell D 3

From: Siemens-und-Halske-Aktiengesellschaft <Berlin (West), München>; Hefner-Alteneck, Friedrich von

Date: 1873 - 1885

Innenpolmaschine von Siemens & Halske, Modell J 76

From: Siemens-und-Halske-Aktiengesellschaft <Berlin (West), München>; Hefner-Alteneck, Friedrich von; Hoffmann, Carl; Hoffmann, Carl

Date: 1887

Amperemeter, Schuckert & Co.

From: Schuckert & Co.; Hummel, Georg

Date: 1884 - 1903

Magnetelektrische Maschine, Siemens & Halske, M 1

From: Siemens-und-Halske-Aktiengesellschaft <Berlin (West), München>; Hefner-Alteneck, Friedrich von

Date: 1870

Wechselstrom-Maschine, Siemens & Halske, Modell W 2

From: Siemens-und-Halske-Aktiengesellschaft <Berlin (West), München>; Hefner-Alteneck, Friedrich von

Date: 1878 - 1892

Zähler für Drehstrom, Siemens - Schuckert

From: Siemens-Schuckertwerke

Date: 1916

Gleichstrom-Nebenschlussdynamomaschine, Siemens & Halske, stehend, Modell Do, mit Ringanker

From: Siemens-und-Halske-Aktiengesellschaft <Berlin (West), München>; Hefner-Alteneck, Friedrich von

Date: 1878 - 1888

Any questions?

Do you have organizational questions?

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