Famous nativity scenes
The art lover King Ludwig II even came to admire the Historical Church Nativity Scene – colourfully painted toys, expertly crafted genre carvings, figures of saints, crucifixes and contemporary sculptures have been assembled here to create an overall picture of the artistic expertise and craftsmanship of the region over several centuries. The authenticity of the historical presentation and the charm it exudes are both surprising and impressive, even in comparison to recently built museums.
In the early history section, ‘The Romans in Oberammergau’, original finds from a Rhaetian sacrificial site on Döttenbichl (a hill below Kofel Mountain) from 100BC to 50AD can be seen. Apart from sacrificial offerings made by the local people, these include a number of weapons used by Roman legionaries and are, as such, the oldest, datable Roman finds in Bavaria.
Unfortunately only seven exhibits from the famous Oberammergau Reverse Glass Painting Collection can be displayed at present. By the end of the 19th century, the brewer Johann Krötz (1858 – 1919) from Murnau had amassed a collection of more than 1000 reverse glass paintings, largely from the Lake Staffel and Oberammergau regions.
The ‘Blauer Reiter’ (Blue Rider) artists, predominantly Wassily Kandinsky, Gabriele Münter and Franz Marc, were inspired by these pictures and published nine of them in The Blue Rider Almanac in 1912. Of these originals, seven are displayed in the ‘Manufacturers and Merchants’ room.
Historical and contemporary films about Oberammergau, woodcarving and the Passion Play, as well as topics related to temporary exhibitions in the Museum, are screened in the Media and Events room.