The Messner Mountain Museum

With a central museum in Sigmundskron and five branch museums devoted to individual themes, Reinhold Messner has created a mountain museum that is truly unique. He describes the project as his “15th ascent over 8000 meters” – and makes use of it to communicate to visitors his knowledge and experience and the stories that derive from man’s encounter with the mountains.
MMM currently comprises six museums. MMM Firmian in Sigmundskron Castle near Bozen is the heart of the Mountain Museum; MMM Ortles in Sulden is devoted to the glaciers and the world of eternal ice; at MMM Dolomites on Monte Rite south of Cortina, the focus is on rock and mountain climbing in the Dolomites; MMM Juval in Juval Castle in Vinschgau relates the myths of the mountain. MMM Ripa in Bruneck Castle tells the story of the mountain peoples and in the sixth establishment on the Kronplatz (MMM Corones), traditional alpinism on the great walls of the world is explored.
The Messner Mountain Museums are not conventional art or natural science museums; they have an interdisciplinary design. Each of the museums occupies a unique location, which helps relate the museum’s theme to the collections and the architecture. The geographical location, relics and works of art combine to form a whole.

Great things are done when men and mountains meet.William Blake

The heritage of the mountain

Like a mosaic, MMM provides the visitor with a unique experience at the interface between nature and culture, a place where we can learn what the mountains really mean to us. Each of the museums can be enjoyed in its own right, with the location and the architecture incorporated into the actual theme. But it is as a whole that MMM becomes an incomparable place of encounter for everyone for whom the mountains are more than a climbing frame or a competitive sports arena.

After a life spent in the vertical rock faces of the Dolomites and on the world’s highest peaks, and while still a wanderer in deserts of ice and sand, I have set myself the task of passing on my legacy. It is my wish to tell what I have experienced at the furthest points of the globe and to speak of the people who have shared fear with me, occasionally despair and ultimately the euphoria of rebirth. From a hostile world, we brought nothing back but our experiences. And at the end of every journey to the limits, when we were back again among human beings, all we had left was our lives – lives that had been saved and now called out to be filled again, with challenges, goals and tasks. One of those tasks for me is my mountain museum, MMM for short, where I tell what happens to us deep inside when we abandon ourselves to the mountains – to their sublime character and sheer size, to their dangers and mysteries. My mountain museum will ultimately occupy five locations. It will be like a big mosaic, opening our eyes to the values that have been inherent in the mountains of the Earth since the very beginning: timelessness in the face of erosion, dangers feared by all, and the deceleration we all so urgently need.Reinhold Messner