Photographic exhibition "MUNICH. LOOK here!" – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek shows rare historical pieces from its Image Archive

6 March – 21 June 2020
250 historical images from the mid-19th century up to the 1970s invite visitors to go on an exciting journey through time in Munich and its surroundings. The extraordinary photographs are from well-known Munich photographers, such as Franz Hanfstaengl, Georg Fruhstorfer, Felicitas Timpe or Heinrich Hoffmann. The Image Archive of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, which manages the photographic legacies and image archives, offers a representative insight into the institution’s outstanding photograph collections.

Exhibition poster | © BSB

Exhibition poster | © BSB

 In 1956, Fritz Kortner staged Shakespeare’s Henry IV at the Munich Residenztheater, with Klaus Kinski (1926 – 1991) as Prince Henry | © BSB/ Image Archive – Felicitas Timpe

Klaus Kinski posing in his role costume. In 1956, Fritz Kortner staged Shakespeare’s Henry IV at the Munich Residenztheater, with Klaus Kinski (1926 – 1991) as Prince Henry | © BSB/ Image Archive – Felicitas Timpe

Topping out ceremony for the research reactor in Garching, January 1957 | © BSB/ Image Archive – Felicitas Timpe

Topping out ceremony for the research reactor in Garching, January 1957. As Germany’s first atomic reactor, the building – frequently referred to as "atomic egg" due to its distinctive cupola – symbolised the scientific and technical progress in the young Federal Republic. Almost 30 years before the disaster of Chernobyl, the construction took place largely without public protest | © BSB/ Image Archive – Felicitas Timpe

"MUNICH. LOOK here!" sheds a light on minor and major events in the history of Munich, from the mid-19th century up to the 1970s. The exhibition has six areas of focus.

  • The part "Early photography up to 1914", composed of works by the court photographers Franz Hanfstaengl (1804 – 1877) and Joseph Albert (1815 – 1886) among others, shows original pictures from this time in the library’s two treasure vaults.
  • The second part extends an invitation to make an excursion "From Munich into the mountains". The photographer Bernhard Johannes (1848 – 1899) based in Partenkirchen is present here with early alpine photographs, along with Josef Beierl (1905 – 1943), who captured the mountains of the Berchtesgaden region in his images of the 1920s and 30s.
  • The majority of the photographs from Munich of the time between 1914 and 1945 are from the collection Heinrich Hoffmann (1885 – 1957). They shed a light on events such as the outbreak of the First World War, the revolution in Bavaria of 1918/ 19 and the rise of the NSDAP, up to the November pogrom of 1938.
  • Titled "War damages and reconstruction", in the ensuing part the images of the Munich journalist and photographer Georg Fruhstorfer (1915 – 2003) and of the architect Tino Walz (1913 – 2008) impressively document life in the destroyed city of Munich in the time after the war.
  • Starting with the year 1950, the well-known Munich society photographer Felicitas Timpe (1923 – 2006) next takes the visitor on a tour of the city’s multifaceted cultural life.
  • The sixth part of the exhibition illustrates the conflict between tradition and progress: The images show the legendary carnival in Munich and the celebration of the city's 800th anniversary in 1958. The students’ protests at the end of the 1960s, the construction of the research reactor in Garching, the "atomic egg", and the Olympic Games of 1972 are likewise recorded in the images shown.

The tour of the exhibition is concluded by a brief outlook on the STERN archive acquired in 2019.

Dr. Klaus Ceynowa, Director General of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek:

We are very pleased to give a representative overview of the photograph collections of our institution in this exhibition, featuring images from the city history of Munich which have partly never been shown before. 'MUNICH. LOOK here!' shows a fraction of one percent of the collections of the Image Archive. This alone gives you an idea of the historical treasures hidden in the photographic collections.

The Image Archive of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek houses predominantly photographs, but also images in original graphic techniques, such as woodcuts, copper engravings and lithographies. The collection has a supra-regional orientation. The Image Archive has existed in its current form since the year 1992. Already in the middle of the 1980s, the library started bringing together and systematically cataloguing portraits of the Departments of Manuscripts and of Music. The Image Archive was strongly expanded by the purchase of the archives of widely known photographers such as Felicitas Timpe, Heinrich Hoffmann, Bernhard Johannes and Georg Fruhstorfer. After the takeover of the analogue photographic archive of the magazine STERN in the year 2019, the Image Archive of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek now encompasses 17 million images and has thus become the largest contemporary-historical photograph collection maintained by any public-sector institution in Germany.

Information about the exhibition, guided tours, the supporting programme, as well as the virtual exhibition can be found at:

Press release for download  (PDF, 179 KB)  (in German)

Contact persons
Dr. Cornelia Jahn
Special Department Maps and Images
Phone  +49 89 28638-2287

Peter Schnitzlein
Press and Public Relations
Phone  +49 89 28638-2429