This museum was both a bit of an afterthought and a surprise, as I had originally planned to visit only if time allowed after seeing the two castles. Due to the brevity of both visits I made several trips here during my two days and it was quite worth it.
Located at an ideal location adjacent to the Alpsee, the Museum of Bavarian Kings can be visited separately from both castles or included in their admission at the main ticket office. An audio guide is furnished free of charge at the front desk and available in English. The museum starts off somewhat logically with a large family tree of the family from the 11th Century to the present, placing most of what you will see later in chronological context. The following rooms include exhibits on the royal castles, a 112-year history of the Kingdom of Bavaria, the changing role of the monarchy in society, and of course a bit on Ludwig II. There are also spots on the end of the dynasty and the current day family members, among various other topics. The audio guide was valuable but not essential, as English signage was decent and there were a wide variety of objects to compliment the text. Total time spent on site was probably three hours spread out over several visits.
Looking back on my two weeks in Bavaria this was the most comprehensive presentation of the Wittelsbach dynasty I saw, bar none. Much of the information even outside of Hohenschwagau tends to focus just on the 19th Century and although there was that tendency here, it was balanced by enough history before and after to put Ludwig in the proper context. In short, if you want to balance the grandeur of the surrounding attractions in Hohenschwangau with a little academic information put this on your itinerary. A recommended stop.
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