The Diocesan Museum in Freising

The Domberg Museum is the diocesan museum of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. It is located on the historical Domberg (Cathedral Hill) near the Mariendom in Freising. Overall, the museum has approximately 16,000 works from the last 2,000 years of art and Christian ministry. It is thus one of the largest religious museums in the world outside the Vatican and receives about 30,000 visitors annually. Since 1 January 2012, theologian and folklorist Christoph Kürzeder is director of the museum.

picture source: flickr (Allie_Caulfield)

History

The museum was founded by Julius Cardinal Döpfner, Archbishop of Munich and Freising and opened in 1974 in the late classical building built by Matthias Berger. It was intended to be open to the public under the management of the archdiocese.
The opening ceremony took place on the west end of the Domberg on the site of the former collegiate church of St Andreas. The core of the museum’s collection is the collections donated by Joachim Sighart in 1857 and Heinrich Gotthard in 1864, with additions over the following decades.

The Collection

Over a display space of 4,800 m2 visitors can view a wealth of high-quality mediaeval pieces, nativity scenes from Bavaria, Bohemia andTyrol, the royal nativity scene from Naples and the nativity scene formerly displayed in the cathedral. In addition, the Freising cathedral treasure and the icon collection are on display on the ground floor. Modern works, yearly special exhibitions and objects of historically significant artists like Erasmus Grasser, Jan Polack, Lucas Cranach and Hans Leinberger and works by modern artists such as Alexej von Jawlensky and Rupprecht Geiger round out the museum’s diverse offerings.

picture source: Diözesanmuseum Freising/ Thomas Dashuber

Over a chronological tour from Romanesque to Rococo spread over three floors, the museum displays paintings and sculptures from late Gothic winged altars, stained glass, reliquaries, medals, coins and vestments. The museum devotes much attention to the transformation of the 19th Century into modernity Artists such as Fritz von Uhde, GebhardFugel and Karl Caspar let visitors rediscover the close relationship between art and the church. In addition, there is a large exhibition of religious folk art, reflecting mainly objects of Bavarian piety such as votive gifts, rosaries, devotional prints, convent embroidery and unique biblical tiles.

The current special exhibit “Love Child” (Seelenkind) has been extended due to high demand to 3 March 2013. It shows the intimate relationship of a nun to the Child Jesus, from her reception into the novitiate to daily practices in honour of the Child Jesus, and is dedicated to the ways the newborn Christ is displayed in the Bavarian convents. On display are a number of Christ Childs, paintings and convent embroideries.

picture source: Diözesanmuseum Freising/ Thomas Dashuber

Direction and Opening Times

From Platzl Hotel Munich, you can reach Freising cathedral with suburban train S1 from Marienplatz towards Freising (terminus) in 40 minutes. From there it is about 15 minutes’ walk to the Cathedral Hill.
If you’re travelling by car, the best route is to take the Autobahn towards Deggendorf and exit at Freising after about 40 minutes to the Cathedral.
The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 am–5 pm. Admission is €6 for adults. The museum is closed on Mondays.

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