Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Review: Siegfried's Mechanisches Musikkabinett, Rüdesheim am Rhein

Siegfried's Mechanisches Musikkabinett
Oberstraße 29, 65385 Rüdesheim am Rhein

Best for: those who love gadgets, musical instruments, or curiosities

As part of our visit to Rüdesheim am Rhein for the Christmas market, we also wanted to visit some local attractions. The town isn't big so there aren't many, but one was odd enough that we had to visit: Siegfried's Mechanisches Musikkabinett.

It's a mechanical instrument museum located inside the Brömserhof, a former residence of the aristocracy. For 6,50 euros, we were taken on a tour that lasted about half an hour. It is only possible to see the collection by tour; the guide explains the collection and plays a selection of its pieces. Photography and video were allowed during our visit.

When we went, the tour was only in German but I was given a description in English to use to follow along. C said that what he was saying in German was exactly the same as what was written in English, so don't worry about missing out.

The guide played such interesting things as a Hupfeld-Phonoliszt-Violina, which is a combination of a player piano and automatic violins.

We also listened to a Weber-Maesto Orchestrion, which included even more instruments.

My favorite part of the collection was the group of music boxes with tiny birds that would pop up and sing via mechanical means. These were developed beginning in the 18th century. I was completely fascinated by their beauty and intricate details. The museum shop sells replicas created in the workshop of the museum's owners and I entertained the impulsive idea of buying one if they were several hundred euros. I found out that they cost several thousand euros, so I had to shelve that idea, but they are very lovely, nonetheless.

Our short jaunt through the museum was worth it, in our book. It was a bit touristy but I love strange and beautiful contraptions from bygone days. The museum offers just that, in a building that is interesting in its own right; within the former chapel, 16th century frescoes remain. It's worth a visit for those who love curiosities.

In the courtyard of the residence with Christmas attractions. Enter the museum through the door in the middle.

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