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About the museum

Please notice: The Bassermannhaus Museum of Music and Fine Arts is currently closed.

The Bassermannhaus Museum of Music and Fine Arts is presented to the public by its exhibit “Musical Worlds”. The Bassermann Cultural Foundation Mannheim funded the construction of the building fully and uses its funds to cover the museum’s operating expenses and support its program. The exhibition “Musical Worlds” is devoted to a theme of human civilization about which the Bassermann family of donors is especially passionate.

The significant extensive collection of over 1600 musical instruments from Europe and abroad at the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen is the basis of the exhibition. Among other things, it includes the largest collection of pre-Columbian musical instruments outside the American continent. It was donated by Dieter and Evamaria Freudenberg. The exhibition impressively documents music’s importance for human cultures throughout the world with a total of 230 exceptional objects – from unusual Aztec whistling vessels to courtly orchestral instruments from Europe, India, Africa and Japan.

Music has influenced and shaped human communities for millennia. Whether rare shamanic drums from Scandinavia, vibrantly colored fire dance masks from New Guinea or sumptuous concert instruments from the elector’s court in Mannheim, they all vividly show that music is not only found in every culture and in every epoch but also moves people to this day.

Visitors experience different musical worlds firsthand with the audiovisual tour through the exhibition. In addition to brief audio texts, select samples of rock, pop and classical sounds set the tone of the different exhibition galleries and thus connect the individual musical traditions. The sounds experienced are enhanced by an atmospherically dense and unusual exhibit with light installations and photographs. Moreover, visitors can also selectively listen to the sounds of individual instruments.