The inventors of the automobile have recreated the automotive museum: on 19 May 2006 the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart was opened. In just two-and-a-half years' construction time, from September 2003 to April 2006, a remarkable structure emerged that is an architectonic highlight of urban development in the entire Stuttgart region.
It is the only museum in the world that can present the 120-year history of the automobile industry complete from the very first day.
The exhibition concept
The exhibition concept of the Mercedes-Benz Museum is as unrivalled as the tradition of the company: on nine levels covering 16,500 square metres, 160 vehicles, more than 1500 exhibits in all, presented on two connected tour routes, can be viewed. The proximity to the Mercedes-Benz parent plant in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim breaches the gap between tradition and modernity: the Museum shows that automotive history is always also directed towards the future. The basis of this is the enduring innovative power of the Mercedes-Benz brand.
The Museum presents not only the exciting history of the Mercedes-Benz brand, but gives revealing glimpses of the future too. The Museum architecture, the work of UNStudio van Berkel and Bos, Amsterdam, serves this task. Its impressive modernity appears to mark it as a design from the future – yet at the same time preserves tradition. The architecture illustrates the heritage of the brand. The building interior is modelled on the double-helix DNA spiral containing the human genetic code, and is therefore committed to the Mercedes-Benz brand's concept of originality: creating entirely new things for the mobility of man, again and again – from the invention of the automobile to the pioneering vision of accident-free driving.
Unique museum concept
The exhibition concept itself is also an original design developed and implemented by HG Merz, Stuttgart and Berlin. On their two-hour walk through the Museum the visitors enjoy a unique journey through time covering 120 years of automotive history. They are transported by lift to the top floor, from which two tours lead back to the starting point in long curves through the extensive collection.
Through nine levels the two paths form a double helix as symbol of the genetic endowment of the brand. Seven "Legend" rooms are arranged on the first circuit. They tell the story of the brand in chronological sequence. For the second tour a host of vehicles is arranged in five separate "Collection" rooms in which, across decades, the brand portfolio and the collection are presented in all their diversity. A further special feature: for the first time the Museum now also documents Mercedes-Benz's more than 110-year commercial vehicle history.
The visitor can switch between tours at any time. Both tours end at the "Silver Arrows – Races and Records" banked corner, where the pure, unadulterated legendry of the brand becomes tangible. The exhibition is complemented by "The Fascination of Technology" section, which enables visitors to see what goes on every day at Mercedes-Benz and at the same time presents topics touching upon the future of the automobile.
The detailed picture of the Mercedes-Benz brand comprises more than 1500 exhibits, including 160 vehicles – 80 passenger cars, 40 commercial vehicles, and 40 racing cars and record-breaking vehicles.
"The Mercedes-Benz Museum is the best and only place in the world where, from the beginnings down to the present, one can experience the history of the automobile and the legend embodied by the Mercedes-Benz brand in a completely new and fascinating way," says Michael Bock, Managing Director, Mercedes-Benz Museum GmbH.