Born in South Tyrol in 1944, Reinhold Messner has a track record of breaking with taboos – in rock climbing, on mountaineering expeditions, and crossing deserts and the Poles. For four decades he has built up a wealth of experience at the margins of the world that has enabled him to create a group of museums on the subject of the mountains. Reinhold Messner himself describes the project as his “15th ascent over 8000 metres”. His objective is to offer a study in human nature and the secrets it reveals when we find ourselves at the limits of our resources at the limits of the world. His philosophy – no artificial oxygen, no bolts, no communication – has made him a defender of those values that give mountaineering a dimension that has more to do with art than with sport. Although Reinhold Messner seeks primarily to define his basics for himself, his MMM has already become a global focus for the international mountaineering community.
The mountain theme
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.
With a central museum in Sigmundskron and four 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 metres” – 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 comprises five 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. The fifth mountain museum was opened on the 3rd July 2011: MMM Ripa in Bruneck Castle tells the story of the mountain peoples.
As the centrepiece of the Messner Mountain Museum, MMM Firmian in Sigmundskron Castle near Bozen addresses the subject of man’s encounter with the mountains. In a setting dominated by the various peaks between the Schlern and the Texel range, the museum is spacious enough to be organised as an itinerary between the various works of art, installations and relics that it houses. The paths, stairs and towers lead visitors form the depths of the mountain, where their origins and exploitation are brought to life, and the religious significance of the peaks as an aid to orientation and a bridge to the beyond, to the history of mountaineering and the alpine tourist industry that we know today. Annual exhibitions are also held.
Castel Firmiano, Via Castel Firmiano 53 – 39100 Bolzano
Tel. +39 0471 631234 – email@example.com - www.messner-mountain-museum.it
MMM Juval is housed in Juval Castle, which is also Reinhold Messner’s private property. The collections here focus on the “Myth of the Mountain”, and the world’s holiest mountains can be admired in one of the galleries. A unique collection of Tibetica, and artefacts from Africa, India and Nepal bear witness to the religious aspect of the mountains. In addition Messner also runs an organic farm and vineyard here. MMM Juval is open from spring to the beginning of November except for July and August when the Messners spend their summer holiday there.
Castel Juval, Juval 3 – 39020 Castelbello (BZ)
Tel. +39 348 4433871 – firstname.lastname@example.org – www.messner-mountain-museum.it
The museum in Sulden am Ortler, an underground structure at 1900 m above sea-level, is devoted to the world of ice. “At the end of the world” we call it. That is what it says on a 1771 map drawn by Peter Anich showing the glacier on the Ortler, beneath which the Ice Museum is located. At MMM Ortles Reinhold Messner tells of the Terrors of Ice and Darkness, Snow People and Snow Lions, the Whiteout and the Third Pole. The museum houses the world’s biggest collection of Ortler paintings as well as ice-climbing gear from two centuries. Skiing, ice-climbing and expeditions to the Poles are the themes. Outside, the ice is very real, and round the corner the Yak&Yeti offers fine fare from the snows of the Himalayas as well as the typical dishes of South Tyrol.
c/o Yak & Yeti – 39029 Solda (BZ)
Tel. +39 0473 613577 – email@example.com – www.messner-mountain-museum.it
The Museum in the Clouds, located on Monte Rite (2181 m) between Pieve di Cadore and Cortina d’Ampezzo in the heart of the Dolomites, is sensational for the views alone. The plateau at the summit offers a 360° panorama of the most spectacular mountains in the Dolomites: Monte Schiara, Monte Agnèr, Monte Civetta, Marmolata, Monte Pelmo, Tofana di Rozes, Sorapis, Antelao, Marmarole. The theme of the museum in the old fort is “rock”. The museum illustrates the process of the conquest of the Dolomites – with reference to those natural scientists and mountaineers who wrote alpine history with their discoveries, new routes and first ascents. At the heart of the museum there is a big gallery housing a collection of unique paintings of the Dolomites, from the Romantic period up to today. Annual exhibitions are also held.
Monte Rite, 32040 Cibiana di Cadore (BL)
Tel. +39 0435 890 996 – firstname.lastname@example.org – www.messner-mountain-museum.it
Reinhold Messner has chosen Bruneck Castle, once the summer residence of the prince bishops, to present mountain peoples from Asia, Africa, South America and Europe, and to reflect on their cultures, religions and tourism activities. The mountain culture is reflected in the daily lives of their inhabitants, who impart life and history to the mountains of the world. This heritage of the mountains, which has ensured survival over the millennia for the people living high up on the brink of life, can now be appreciated at MMM Ripa – with the help of their dwellings, videos and encounters.
Castel Brunico, Vicolo del Castello 2, 39031 Brunico (BZ)
Tel. +39 0474 410220 – email@example.com – www.messner-mountain-museum.it
© MMM Dolomites, Foto Tappeiner