Since we had been to Munich before (on our first trip to Germany in 2006) we were able to pick some of the less highly touted sights. We decided to visit the Bavarian National Museum (Bayerisches Nationalmuseum). It is good sized, and has a diverse collection (some would call it a hodge-podge) of sculpture, paintings, church art, carvings, armour, tapestries, furniture, armour, weapons etc… you get the idea. It was really interesting to look at the artifacts, and since we couldn’t read the German descriptions it was not such a big deal that it wasn’t the most cohesive museum in the world.
One thing that was really outstanding was the Crib collection. They had probably 20 rooms of displays of christ-child dolls, nativity boxes and nativity scenes. These were much more than the average nativity scenes – many were of the nativity in Bethlehem, but there were so many other scenes, the angel appearing to Mary, the angels appearing to the shepherds, Mary and Joseph being turned away at the inn. Then there were also other scenes from the life of Jesus: the crucifixion, scenes with the apostles and even of a scene of his family chilling in Nazareth when he was a carpenter. Some ‘non-life-of-jesus’ dioramas were included as well, including this amazing one of a street scene that went on for probably 20 feet.
If you are ever in Munich and have the time I would recommend a visit. Especially at Christmastime. It really put me in the Christmas mood (the beautiful snow outside helped too) and it was a good education that helped us understand the other Nativity displays we saw throughout the trip.