Deutsches Museum – Munich, Bavaria, Germany
World Technology in a Nutshell
The largest, oldest, and most complete museum of its kind in the world covers every conceivable aspect of scientific and technical endeavor with demonstrations and interactive displays in fifty-five different departments, including musical instruments, aeronautics, photography, physics, textiles, and everything in between.
As absorbing for kids as for adults, it is a hands-on extravaganza of do-it-yourself chemistry experiments and buttons, gears, levers, and handles galore. Built on an island in the middle of the Isar River, a full day can easily be spent in the company of historical originals such as Germany’s first submarine (built in 1906), the first electric locomotive (Siemens, 1879), the laboratory bench at which the atom was first split, dozens of automobiles, including the first Benz of 1886 and luxury Bugattis and Daimlers from the 1920s and 1930s.
Other priceless artifacts include a complete and eerily convincing replica of Spain’s Altamira caves. Judging from the head count, aeronautics is a favorite department; its hangar-sized halls house pioneering planes, from the Wright Brothers’ Type-A Standard, built in the U.S. in 1909, to military aircraft from the 1930s and 1940s.
From here there is direct access to the section devoted to space travel, where the most recent Spacelab exhibits are not half as interesting as the displays of such earlier attempts as Hitler’s V-2, code-named A4.