Museum of Bread Culture in Ulm city of Germany – world’s first bread museum

The Aghdam Bread Museum, opened in Azerbaijan’s eponymous district in 1983, was the second bread museum in the world and the first one of a kind in the former USSR, whereas Germany’s Museum of Bread Culture, which contains the largest known collection revolving around bread’s cultural history, is the first and for many years the only museum of its kind in the world.

Museum of Bread Culture is dedicated to the 6,000-year history of bread as an indispensable basis of human culture and civilization.

The museum was founded in 1955 as the German Bread Museum and renamed the Museum of Bread Culture in 2002.

Creation and growth are linked to the decades-long personal commitment of father and son Eiselen. The first permanent exhibition dates back to 1960. It was the first and for many years the only museum of its kind in the world.

In 1991, the funding of the museum was taken over by the Eiselen Foundation, an independent charitable institution; at the same time the museum moved into the Salzstadel, a historic storehouse in the centre of Ulm. Here the museum flourished, and in 2004 welcomed its one millionth visitor.

A new permanent exhibition was opened in 2005 when the museum celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Comprising over 18,000 objects, of which 700 are on permanent display, the collections cover more than 30 different kinds of objects.

The exhibits provide a record of the significance of bread to mankind. They show how methods of bread-making have changed through the ages, and illustrate the social and cultural history of bread. Bread itself does not form part of the collection, reflecting the museum founders’ firm belief that bread is not a museum artefact, but a food, freshly baked each day.

A specialized library consisting of 6,000 books and archives complete the collection.

The first part of the permanent exhibition is titled “From Grain to Bread” and presents the 6,000-year history of bread beginning with the growing of cereals. Various aspects of cereal cultivation are portrayed in some outstanding works of art (sculptures and paintings by P. Brueghel, E. Heckel and M. Pechstein).

Historical artefacts, models and films illustrate the evolution of flour production methods, of milling and dough-making as well as the history of the bread oven from Stone Age to present. Sumptuous silver vessels, richly decorated glass and ceramic tankards recall the bakers and millers guilds – how they lived, and how they saw themselves.

The second part of the permanent collection shows the relationship between man and bread because bread is of vital importance to human existence, culture and civilization; it is a symbol of life itself.

The exhibition traces the history of famine from the days of Ancient Egypt up to the actual world food insecurity. A further dimension is offered by bread related works of art. The list of artists ranges from Georg Flegel and Franz Francken to Ernst Barlach, Max Beckmann and Käthe Kollwitz to Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Man Ray and Markus Lüpertz, among many others.

Source: Azerbaijan State News Agency