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Other fun museums in Germany

A selection of other light-hearted museums in Germany.
Valentin Karlstadt Museum, Munich
The Valentin Karlstadt Museum opened in the tower of the Isar gate in 1959, shortly after completion of renovation work on this section of Munich's city fortifications. Of all the artists Munich has produced, Valentin - often described as Germany's Charlie Chaplin - is perhaps the one who represents the city more aptly and more comprehensively than any other. The tower is worth a visit in itself, and its content provides a fascinating insight into the lives of Karl Valentin and his wife Lisa Karlstadt in a witty blend of charm and humour. Visitors will discover numerous bizarre exhibits, such as the "winter toothpick“ and the legendary nail upon which Karl Valentin hung his carpentry profession when he became a comic, or Father's lying-down stand-up collars. Films, radio recordings, staged scenes and couplets keep Valentin's work alive. The Turmstüberl cafe is also worth a visit. Closed Wednesday-Thursday, guided tours are available in various languages.
Hamburg Dungeon, Hamburg
The ancient, gloomy catacombs of Hamburg's historical warehouse district are the setting for the Hamburg Dungeon, a special kind of exhibition occupying an area of 500m˛. Not for the faint-hearted, the Dungeon is a combination of museum and interactive chamber of horrors. Behind its walls lie terrible scenes from almost 2,000 years of Hamburg history. Actors lead the visitors into the depths of the past – starting with the Great Fire of Hamburg in 1842, to the terror of plague and cholera in 1892 and the life and death of the notorious pirate Störtebeker. A spectacular water ride based on the terrible storm floods of 1717 promises a terrifying and thrilling few minutes. Then the chamber of horrors awaits, with glowing instruments of torture, and fear, terror and horror. Open all year round.
Wilhelm Busch Museum, Hannover
The Wilhelm Busch Museum opened in 1937, and contains a unique Wilhelm Busch collection as well as an internationally important collection of satirical art spanning four centuries. With 335 oil paintings, 1,200 drawings from nature, 50 illustrated stories, 896 letters and 193 poetry and prose manuscripts, this collection has more than two thirds of all Busch's work still in existence. The "Caricature and critical drawings“ collection was established in the early 1960s and contains more 20,000 drawings and graphics from five centuries. Artists from the golden age of English caricature in the 18th and 19th centuries are extensively represented here, along with the great French 19th century caricaturists. The collection also boasts an extensive archive and a specialist Busch library with 2,500 volumes on the subject. Closed on 24 Dec. and 31 Dec., guided tours on request.
The PANOPTIKUM in Hamburg, established in 1879, is an unusual museum which boasts Germany's oldest and most extensive collection of waxwork figures. More than 100 realistic wax figures from the worlds of history, culture, show business and sport are displayed in appropriate costumes and settings. The interesting 1950s building is home to Goethe and Schiller, Napoleon, Cleopatra, Frederick the Great, Picasso, Uwe Seeler, Steffi Graf, Harry Potter, James Dean, Elvis Presley and the Beatles, to name but a few. Princess Diana and Michael Jackson are here too. The medical history collection is a little creepy, featuring waxwork recreations of a birth in breech presentation, a newborn, skin rashes, a collection of glass eyes and much, much more. Guided tours on request.
"Museum of Unheard-of Things", Berlin
The "Museum of Unheard-of Things“ opened in 1999 in Berlin and has quickly established itself as a very popular attraction. It contains a wealth of bizarre and fascinating objects, and poses questions such as what does the red thread that runs through life actually look like? It looks at things in a new light, such as a flash of inspiration, the hide of a miniature stag and part of the leg bone of St. Vitus. Is it all real? Who knows why sacramental wine is white and not red? Why is edelweiss (which means noble and white in German) so highly regarded and why did Empress Maria Theresia want her soldiers to wear mother-of-pearl buttons? The museum currently has 50 described exhibits on display, which are presented on a rotating basis in the exhibition room. The museum also has more than 300 other objects which are not described. Lots of big questions triggered by small things. Open Wednesday to Friday.
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