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This often-overlooked but fascinating Museum Schnütgen houses valuable works of Christian religious art from the medieval period inside a Roman-style church. Objects on display range from wooden and stone sculptures to delicate manuscripts and carvings. There are also works in gold and ivory, as well as some rare and modern textiles. There are around 2,000 pieces on display in total.
Some of the most famous works include the Parler Bust, the Crucifix of St. George from the 11th-century and the Comb of St. Heribert, an unusual and fragile filigree ivory carving.
Look up to see the stained-glass windows that line the Church of St. Cecilia’s walls and are included as part of the exhibit. Most of the displays are at eye level and allow visitors to get up-close and see the objects in detail.
The largest exhibition space in the museum is over a thousand years old. The atmosphere, stillness and natural light of the church play a part in transporting visitors back to times past. The church was built in 1130, and is still used for mass at Christmas and Easter.
The museum is often very quiet. Visit in midweek and you may even find yourself alone, except for the security guards. Rent the audio guide for an explanation of the cultural and religious significance of the exhibits, or simply wander among them and enjoy the atmosphere. There are free guided tours available throughout the week. Check the museum’s website for the current tour schedule.
The ongoing exhibition series Museum Schnütgen in Focus is a collection of works from across the museum that changes regularly. The adjacent Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum shares the same lobby, and a combined ticket can be purchased for entry to both. Check the museum’s official website for current admission times and prices.
Museum Schnütgen is located close to Neumarkt U-Bahn station, or is easily reached by bus number 136 or 146 from the city center. The nearest parking facility is the user-pay garage Cäcilienstraße.
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