The Deutsches Museum von Meisterwerken der Naturwissenschaft und Technik (German Museum of the Masterpieces of Natural Science and Technology) holds one of the world’s most important collections of artefacts relating to science and industry, comparable with those of the Science Museum, London, the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers in Paris and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.
The museum was founded in 1903 at a meeting of the Verein Deutscher Ingenieure (German Engineers’ Association) by the electrical engineer Oskar von Miller (1855-1934), and was opened on its island site in the middle of the River Isar in 1925. The museum has important collections of prime movers, of navigational and telecommunications equipment, of machines for papermaking and of musical instruments. Some of its displays, particularly the reconstruction of the coalface of a 19th century mine from Hausham, Upper Bavaria, were amazingly advanced for their time.
Oskar von Miller was largely responsible for the construction of the Walchensee power station between 1918 and 1924, and one particularly important exhibit is a diorama of 1953 that shows how electric power is distributed from power stations to customers.
The museum was severely damaged by bombing during the Second World War and was re-opened in stages, beginning with the library, from November 1945. The museum’s aeronautical exhibits were removed to Schleissheim in 1990 and the collections of railway and road vehicles to Theresienhöhe in 2003.