Messner Mountain Museum / Six Places Six Exhibitions Six Experience

An exceptional project that we wanted to share with you on Nicky’s World, the series of Messner Mountain Museums. With a central museum in Sigmundskron and five branch museums devoted to individual themes, Reinhold Messner has created a mountain museum that is truly unique. He describes the project as his “15th ascent over 8000 meters”, and makes use of it to communicate to visitors his knowledge and experience and the stories that derive from man’s encounter with the mountains.

The Messner Mountain Museums are not conventional art or natural science museums. Each of the museums occupies a unique location, which helps relate the museum’s theme to the collections and the architecture. The geographical location, relics and works of art combine to form a whole.

MMM currently comprises six museums. MMM Firmian in Sigmundskron Castle near Bozen (F on the map) is the heart of the Mountain Museum (photographed below). This museum addresses the subject of man’s encounter with the mountains. In a setting dominated by the various peaks between the Schlern and the Texel range, the museum is spacious enough to be organised as an itinerary between the various works of art, installations and relics that it houses.

The paths, stairs and towers lead visitors from the depths of the mountain, where their origins and exploitation are brought to life, and the religious significance of the peaks as an aid to orientation and a bridge to the beyond, to the history of mountaineering and the alpine tourist industry that we know today.

To jump to the most recent museum, in July 2015 the sixth MMM opened, Corones (C on the map above), the most magnificent of them all. Situated on the summit plateau of Kronplatz (2,275 m), this museum is dedicated to traditional mountaineering, which has strongly influenced, and been strongly influenced by creator Reinhold Messner.

The museum is devoted to mountain history and also offers unique views of the great mountain walls of the Dolomites and the Alps. At the edge of the most magnificent viewing platform in South Tyrol, in the distinctive museum building created by Zaha Hadid, the view goes beyond the borders of South Tyrol to all points of the compass, from the Lienz Dolomites in the east to the Ortler in the west, from the Marmolada in the south to the Zillertal Alps in the north.

MMM Dolomites (D on the map above) is known as The Museum in the Clouds. Located on Monte Rite (2181 m) between Pieve di Cadore and Cortina d’Ampezzo in the heart of the Dolomites, it is a sensational visit for the views alone. The plateau at the summit offers a 360° panorama of the most spectacular mountains in the Dolomites, Monte Schiara, Monte Agnèr, Monte Civetta, Marmolata, Monte Pelmo, Tofana di Rozes, Sorapis, Antelao, Marmarole.

The theme of the museum in the old fort is “rock”. The museum illustrates the process of the conquest of the Dolomites, with reference to those natural scientists and mountaineers who wrote alpine history with their discoveries, new routes and first ascents.

MMM Ripa in Bruneck Castle tells the story of mountain people. Reinhold Messner has chosen Bruneck Castle (R on the map above), once the summer residence of the prince bishops, to present mountain people from Asia, Africa, South America and Europe, and to reflect on their cultures, religions and tourism activities. The mountain culture is reflected in the daily lives of their inhabitants, and history to the mountains of the world.

Surrounded by mountain farms and offering views of the popular Kronplatz skiing and walking area, the rural scenery of the Ahrn Valley and the mighty Zillertal Alps, it is the ideal location for MMM Ripa (in Tibetan: ri=mountain, pa=man).

MMM Juval in Juval Castle (J on the map at the top), relates the myths of the mountain. The museum is dedicated to the Magic of the Mountain and houses several fine art collections, a Tibetica collection, a gallery of paintings of the world’s holy mountains, a collection of masks from five continents, a unique Gesar of Ling exhibition, a Tantra Room and the Expedition Cellar.

There is also a small mountain zoo, home-grown produce at the Schlosswirt tavern, excellent wines in Unterortl and, at the foot of the hill, a farmhouse shop.

The last museum below, MMM Ortles in Sulden (O on the map) is devoted to the glaciers and the world of eternal ice. Reinhold Messner tells of the Terrors of Ice and Darkness, Snow People and Snow Lions, the Whiteout and the Third Pole. The museum houses the world’s biggest collection of Ortler paintings as well as ice-climbing gear from two centuries. Skiing, ice-climbing and expeditions to the Poles are the themes.

Visitors find themselves inside the mountain, where they are given a clear picture of ice mountains, the Arctic and Antarctic, the power of avalanches, and the pains taken by artists to depict the world of ice. Outside, the ice is very real, and round the corner the Yak&Yeti offers fine fare from the snows of the Himalayas as well as the typical dishes of South Tyrol.

For information on how to visit each of these museums, just click here.

Images c/o Messner Mountain Museum

Nicky’s World February 2017