The local history museum in Oberammergau opens the door to the past for you. Discover the fascinating history of this unique region and its inhabitants.
The Oberammergau Museum: an authentic window into Bavaria's cultural history
The Oberammergau Museum, which opened in 1910 and has retained its authenticity to this day, is considered one of the oldest, most important and most beautiful cultural history museums in Bavaria.
For more than half a millennium, the inhabitants of Oberammergau have been known for their artistic carving craft. The museum therefore presents a multi-faceted collection that includes works of art and craft techniques from the 17th century to the modern age.
Arts and crafts in diversity: from nativity scenes to modernity
Famous nativity scenes – including the historic church nativity scene that King Ludwig II already admired – colourfully painted toys, filigree carvings, statuettes of saints, crucifixes and modern sculpture create a comprehensive picture of the artistic and craftsmanship of this village over the centuries.
In the museum’s media room, both historical and current films about Oberammergau are shown, providing further insights into the culture and history of this place.
Traces of the Romans in Oberammergau
A particularly exciting part of the museum is the early history exhibition, which features original finds from a Rhaetian sanctuary dating from 100 BC to AD 50. Among them are offerings from the local Rhaetian population and numerous offensive weapons of Roman legionaries – the oldest datable Roman finds in Bavaria.
The museum regularly presents art and cultural history exhibitions that focus on both local historical aspects and global connections.
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The combination of tradition and modernity in carving art
On entering the Oberammergau Museum through the heavy green door on Dorfstraße, visitors are plunged into a world of questions and answers. Did you know, for example, that a large number of church altars in the USA originate from Oberammergau? Or that Rudolf Wachter, whose modern sculptures often confuse and provoke, studied at the carving school in Oberammergau, among other places?
The “new-old” museum, which opened back in 1910, has undergone modernisation without losing its historical character thanks to museum director Constanze Werner. Under her direction, the museum has been given a fitting setting for its exhibits and thus virtually stages a museum within a museum.
A place for research and discovery
The Oberammergau Museum offers visitors with the KönigsCard free daily admission including exhibitions, as well as to the Passion Theatre and the Pilatus House. Thanks to the use of a ramp and a lift, the museum is barrier-free, although the freedom of movement for wheelchair users is somewhat restricted due to the structural conditions.
freedom of movement for wheelchair users is somewhat restricted due to the structural conditions. A disabled WC is also available.
A colourful world of carving
The museum presents an impressive collection of carvings, ranging from traditional religious works of art to modern sculptures. The exhibits, lovingly arranged in display cases, show a fascinating range: from jumping jacks and animal figures to toys and the movable fortress of Scharnitz to exceedingly filigree fine carvings.
It is worth paying attention to the details, such as the “Hunt on the Kofel” – a work that may only be 50 cm high, but is nevertheless impressively populated with brave hunters and nimble chamois. The carving art here is not limited to Madonnas, it is rather a mirror of social history!
Carving in the 20th century
The department dedicated to 20th century carving art forms an exciting contrast to traditional carving art. Here, the curators focus on few but expressive exhibits and the use of media such as slide shows and computer terminals. Visitors can become carving researchers themselves and learn more about the development and techniques of this craft.
Special exhibitions and an integrative concept
The museum’s attic provides a beautiful setting for special exhibitions that are entirely in keeping with the museum’s integrative concept of old and new, near and far, global and folkloric. This museum handles art with care and invites visitors to see the old in a new way.
The Oberammergau Museum is thus more than just a “local museum”. It is a place that brings local culture and history to life and at the same time offers insights into the worldwide spread and significance of Oberammergau carving art. A visit here is more than worthwhile and should be high on the agenda of every visitor to Oberammergau.