P1030040-0.JPGGargantuan Ship’s Propeller

Deutsches Museum (or, as Mary calls it, the “Douche Museum”) is Germany’s answer to America’s Smithsonian. More than an answer, the DM, at least regarding science and technology, dwarfs the Smithsonian. Housed at three separate sites, the DM is more than a day’s worth of cool science exhibits and even cooler vintage cars.

As a former high school science teacher, I could only wish that I had had access to a small fraction of the hands-on exhibits in the physics section of the museum during my teacher years.

If science stuff doesn’t get your motor running, DM’s Verkehrszentrum (transportation center) just might. It has a fantastic collection of vintage cars, particularly from what I consider the heyday of European car years, 1950 – 1960. A few of my favorites:

P1030027.JPGWilly Messerschmidt’s Entry into the Automobile Market

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P1030031.JPGA Wood-burning Ford Truck

That’s right. The resourceful Germans during both WWI and WWII when oil-based fuels were scarce, converted some of their vehicles to run on the gas emitted by partially combusted wood. There were wood filling stations even! Wood gas had a few limitations beside the sheer bulk of wood: The furnace had to be re-stoked about every twenty minutes; the octane of wood gas is considerably lower than gasoline or diesel, and the maximum practical range of a wood vehicle was about fifty miles.

The DM Flugwerft Schleissheim (Museum of Flight) is the neglected stepchild of the three museum branches in my opinion. It looks as if it were put together on a tight budget. In fact, the best airplanes are housed not at the flight museum, but the science and technology museum. These include: one of the Wright Brother’s first planes, Luftwaffe’s ME106 (rocket-powered fighter), ME 262 (first jet fighter), Hitler’s V-2 Vergeltungswaffe (retribution weapon.)

(Incidentally, I learned after our visit that the somewhat dilapidated buildings housing the Museum of Flight are the leftover buildings of an American airbase at Schleissheim (a suburb north of Munich.) This rang a bell for me. I contacted my brother, Lars, and sure enough, Schleissheim was the base he was stationed at in the late 1960s!)

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Mary Meets the Red Baron

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