More than Just a Museum in Münchingen…

Zeina Elcheikh celebrates a small town museum.

Arriving in Münchingen, it’s easy to delight in the traditional architecture of the old houses and barns as you wander about. Behind the remarkable Rathaus (Town Hall), stands a quiet old building, a building well worth a visit inside.

Münchingen's stunning architectural ensemble: the Town Hall (left), the Heimatmusuem (right) and the tower of the church appears in the background

Münchingen’s stunning architectural ensemble: the Town Hall (left), the Heimatmusuem (right) and the tower of the church appears in the background

Münchingen is located in the administrative district of Ludwigsburg, about 8 Km northwest of the center of Stuttgart, Germany. In 1975, Korntal and Münchingen were both combined in one town: Korntal-Münchingen. The old school of Münchingen, located between the Church and the Town Hall, is no longer home to noisy schoolchildren or classes. Yet the old building tells plenty of other stories.

The main façade and façade of the Heimatmusuem

The main facade and facade of the Heimatmusuem

Built probably in 1643, the school was damaged extensively in a fire that had also devastated the church and many other houses in Münchingen during the Thirty Years War. As a result, In 1645 the building was reconstructed and, for centuries, served as a school. Until the 1960s, the family of the school teacher lived upstairs, while the two rooms in the ground floor were devoted to teaching, where several classes were gathered.

In the early 1980s, there was a dispute over whether the building should be demolished or kept. The majority of the council voted for the safeguarding of the building and therefore the preservation of the architectural ensemble that represents the urban image of Münchingen: the church, the school and town hall. The school was turned into a museum, The Heimatmuseum, which opened to the public in 1986. The museum features temporary exhibitions two to three times a year to keep it vibrant and animated.

During restoration, wo holes were made on purpose in the ceiling of the upper floor, in order to show the layers building materials and traditional architecture

During restoration, conservators made two holes in the ceiling of the upper floor in order to show the layers building materials and traditional architecture

The museum shows the changes in daily life and work over time, in a place that had previously been a village in the old kingdom of Württemberg. The museum’s significance comes from its dedication to the cultural history of the place. The museum showcases memories of the “Old Days in Münchingen” through the everyday objects and old photographs of the town: from old traditional clothes and shoes, to complete scenes of fully furnished and equipped kitchens and bedrooms.

Some of the  household items on exhibit

Some of the household items on exhibit

A shoemaker

A shoemaker

It exhibits traditional crafts and trades, which had in the past a strong relation to the social fabric of the town, in addition to their role in supplementing agriculture. However, most of these crafts do not exist anymore, outside the walls of the museum and its collection.

The opening of the museum has been accompanied by the establishment of the Heritage Association (Heimatverein e.V.), which has assisted in preservation and museum services. The Heritage Association along with the archive of the town, have closely collaborated to the temporary exhibitions of the museum.

In 1964, Korntal-Münchingen (at that time only Korntal), came into partnership and twinning with the French town of Mirande, and Tubize in Belgium. In 2014, the Heimatmuseum celebrates a half century of partnership, which is the focus of the current exhibition.

If you go:
Heimatmusuem Museum Info
Entry is free and donations are always welcome!

Zeina Elcheikh, Syrian architect, holds an M.Sc. from Stuttgart University. She worked with German International Cooperation and the French Institute for the Near East in Syria. In Egypt, she joined the UNESCO office as an intern with the Wadi Halfa Museum project. She is also a member of AiP‘s Advisory Board.

About Adventures in Preservation

Huge fans of the world's architectural heritage, making it a point to seek out historic buildings wherever we travel. Bloggers include co-founder of Adventures in Preservation, a non-profit organizing historic preservation-based volunteer vacations, and AiP interns.
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