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The modernisation of the Deutsches Museum is a project of the century. All the exhibitions are being completely redesigned for the most part, and the rest is being updated. And the exhibition building is also being brought up to the latest technical standards. The project is designed so that about half of the museum will always remain open to visitors. In the meantime, the first part of the new Deutsches Museum has been completed and opened - including the change of entrance in the direction of the Cornelius Bridge. At the same time, modernisation on the other side of the building is continuing at full speed.

The standard is high. “We will have one of the most modern science and technology museums on earth here,” says General Director Wolfgang M. Heckl. And rarely has the phrase “century project” been as true as it is here: In 1925, the exhibition building on Museum Island was opened. Since then, the building has never been fundamentally renovated. In 2011, the Free State of Bavaria and the Federal Republic of Germany then each pledged 180 million euros for the general renovation, after the museum itself had raised 45 million euros in donations. The museum is contributing a further 40 million euros from its own budget. Because, among other things, the booming construction industry of recent years has driven up the cost of the modernisation project, the federal government and the Free State of Bavaria each increased their funding commitments by 150 million euros in the fall of 2019.

A lot has happened since the start of the modernisation in October 2015: The flood-proof wall around the building has been completed. Never again will the museum have to fear that floodwater will enter the building and damage the valuable exhibits. A connecting passageway, visible from afar, had been built in the meantime, through which the special exhibitions and the Center for New Technologies remained accessible; the Kids’ Kingdom, the “Federal President’s Prize” exhibition and other highlights had been relocated within the museum.

The evacuation of the old exhibitions - including “Aunt Ju” and the vertical take-off aircraft - went off on time and without a hitch. Around 10,000 exhibits, some of them very large, had to leave the Museum Island for the first part of the building renovation, some of which were temporarily on display in the Flugwerft Schleißheim and the Verkehrszentrum. The empty exhibition rooms were restored to their shell condition and renovated from the ground up, modern technical cores were installed and then new exhibition furniture was built up piece by piece. In the meantime, the new exhibitions have been put back in place, the connecting passageway has disappeared and the large exhibits have returned to the Museum Island.

2022, the new exhibitions of the first construction phase were opened. Visitors can now see old acquaintances like the famous diesel engine again, but also discover and experience many things that have never been seen before. To this end, the museum’s workshops worked on new dioramas and demonstrations, while curators and editors formulated new explanatory texts for the walls, panels and media stations. At the same time, virtual worlds were created for use in the museum. In total, 20 exhibitions of the Deutsches Museum were opened on around 20,000 square meters – “there has never been anything like this since the museum was inaugurated,” says Director General Heckl.

There are now two major changes for visitors: Firstly, for the first time in its history, visitors do not enter the exhibition building via the main entrance in the museum courtyard, but via a new, specially constructed entrance building near the Cornelius Bridge. The ticket office and checkroom have also been relocated to the other side of the building. Visitors can also look forward to a completely new museum restaurant - in a unique location. The restaurant “Frau im Mond” (Woman in the Moon) has opened on the roof terrace of the aeronautics exhibition - with a great view over the Isar River to the mountains. The restaurant is also accessible in the evening via the newly designed museum garden.

Meanwhile, the modernisation process is entering its second round. The remaining “old” exhibitions are being cleared, the rooms of the second construction phase are being renovated, and the new exhibitions are being created.

But the museum has even bigger plans. After all, the modernisation currently only extends to the exhibition building. But the Forum at Ludwigsbrücke and the large depot in Erding will also be included in a holistic planning process. The “Forum of the Future” is being built at Ludwigsbrücke - a place where science, technology and progress will be discussed in the future. In July 2022, the first meeting places for society, research and high-tech companies went into operation there with VRlab+, Experience Center and AI Factory. In this way, the museum wants to open up further to the city and become a place of dialog even more than before. In keeping with the spirit of the museum’s founder, Oskar von Miller.

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