Redesign of the Culture- and Military Museum Grafenwoehr

Elvis, the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” at the original grand piano in the reconstructed Micky Bar. -- Photo Credit: Gerald MorgensternFrom Elvis to silver bullet “Dora“

Grafenwoehr, Germany — The redesign took longer than expected but it was worth the while. The Culture- and Military Museum Grafenwoehr was turned into a real treasure chest. The new exhibition was ceremoniously opened with German and American guests in attendance. It features a lot of new, interesting details about the city, the military and, of course, the training area.

Even an original piece of the muzzle of Hitler’s silver bullet “Dora” is on display in the military section. The first floor of the military section focuses on the fascination and fate of the life of a soldier. It documents the uniform development from the so-called “colored jacket” to the camouflage battle dress uniform.

From 2013 to 2015, the members of the historic society volunteered many hours to modernize and renew the exhibition with the help of professional museum designers. In the former military section, photos, display panels, exhibits and movies cover the disbandment of the former villages on the training area, construction of the training area, World War I and II, the prisoners of war and, naturally, the bombardment and the arrival of the Americans.

The new exhibition features a movie about the arrival of he American at the end of World War II and the war preparations of the Nazi regime which led to the expansion of the training area from 1936 to 1938. In 1945, training area and city were heavily bombarded and widely destroyed. In April 1945, German soldiers blew up Hitler’s silver bullet “Dora“ at the border of the training area. The exhibition now includes a model of the huge railroad cannon, an original piece of the muzzle and moving pictures of it.

District council Toni Dutz (from left), Col. William C. Lindner, Chief of Staff, Joint Multinational Training Command, County Commissioner Andreas Meier, Mayor  Edgar Knobloch, State Parliamentarian Tobias Reiß and Lt. Col. William E. Rieper, U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria took a tour through the exhibition in a Willy Jeep.  -- Photo Credit: Gerald MorgensternAfter the end of World War II, the Americans came to the training area and into town. Elvis Presley, the famous U.S. soldier, even had a gig in the legendary “Micky Bar.“ A major focus of the museum are German-American relations which are present everywhere in the city. That was a major concern of all involved. Therefore, all information is presented to visitors bilingually in German and English, including a lot of facts, new even to local history buffs. Not many people know that the desk of Desert Fox Rommel is located in Grafenwoehr and that it was used by U.S. General George Patton.

The exhibition is unique in Germany. The museum is located directly next to the city pond in a new exhibition hall, the historic granary – a storage building built in 1532 – and the gate house. The museum is open on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2-4 p.m. Guided tours for groups are possible anytime. Once a month, the historic society offers tours through the training area that surprise many participants because large packs of red deer roam the 23.000 hectare area and white-tailed eagles circle in the sky.

Opening hours Culture- and Military Museum Grafenwoehr

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday: 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

For more information, go to www.museum-grafenwoehr.de.

About the author: Gerald Morgenstern

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