The lord of the keys.

Every visitor to the Mercedes-Benz Museum will discover the diversity of the exhibition and the architecture from a very individual perspective. But which focal points of the museum and which of the stories they tell will become the focal point of that personal perception? Today, we will provide some insight from: Benedikt Weiler, curator of the Mercedes-Benz Museum since 2012.

“As curator, I know the Mercedes-Benz Museum and its exhibits from all angles. Of course, there are keys to the vehicles exhibited, but they are in a box in our office. It’s like a museum in miniature, through the ages. The largest key is the one for the mobile post office installed in bus O 10000 from the ‘Gallery of Carriers’ in Collection 2. It’s probably three times as long as a modern ignition key. Motorcar fans would obviously love to sit in one of our dream cars, but, unfortunately, that’s not possible.”

The key to the door of the history of mobility: there are around 130 keys for the door, boot and ignition locks of the various vehicles in the permanent exhibition at the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

Every epoch in automotive history uses different materials: from wood and brass to aluminium and plastics of all kinds. This is another factor that makes the exhibits in the Mercedes-Benz Museum so diverse. Photo of Legend Room 3: “Times of Change – Diesel and Supercharger, 1914 to 1945.”

Hosting visitors from all round the world.

“It’s great to work here. The museum is visited by almost a million people every year from all over the world. That’s a real challenge. Above all, from a conservation point of view: the air conditioning system must be set so that the guests feel comfortable, but also so that the historic motorcars, with their mix of different materials, do not suffer. It’s a real balancing act.”

At home in the museum.

“I’ve known the Mercedes-Benz Museum, inaugurated at its present location in 2006, from the very beginning: during my mechanical engineering studies, I was on a work experience programme at Mercedes-Benz Classic and helped out when the exhibits were brought into the museum. In 2012, I became curator. Understanding the technology of the exhibits is essential: for example, when I start the authentic replica of the Benz patent motorcar for demonstrations, I know exactly what is happening in the engine and can explain the process.”

The flywheel of the Benz Patent Motor Car in Legend Room 1 of the Mercedes-Benz Museum (left) and Benedikt Weiler on the driver’s seat of the Gottlieb Daimler motorised carriage.

The huge crane cage of the Mercedes-Benz Museum during the installation of the mobile post office, Bus O 10000, before the opening of the museum in 2006.

Moving Mondays.

“For the public, the museum is alive when it is open. But particularly on Mondays, which is the day we are closed, an awful lot of jobs are carried out here. For example, we can use the special crane to replace vehicles in the permanent exhibition. The crane cage is 3.50 metres wide, 20 metres long and weighs 20 tonnes. When we move it into the atrium, it is on air cushions to protect the flooring. Then it is attached to the ropes, and we can hoist up to 20 tonnes.”

Secret passages.

“There are plenty of doors in our museum that lead from the exhibition to other sections. This is hardly noticed by most of the visitors. For example, there are the huge doors in the collection rooms that we use to move vehicles in and out of the space.

 In the room itself, these are just plain white doors. Leading to the atrium, the doors are artistically painted to resemble the concrete walls exactly.”

Off on holiday: the Estate of the Mercedes-Benz 123 series with its lovingly arranged holiday luggage in the style of the late 1970s is one of Benedikt Weiler’s favourites.

Discover stories.

“At the Mercedes-Benz Museum, our visitors constantly discover new scenes from the history of mobility. Sometimes you have to look very closely. As, for example, with the Estate of the 123 series in the ‘Gallery of Voyagers’: this Mercedes-Benz 300 TD is displayed with many contemporary props – including a cassette recorder, a pack of Quartets playing cards, suitcase and water polo ball. The car tells its own story and is one of my favourite exhibits.”

A living stage.

“Collections Room 5 shows changing exhibitions. The special exhibition ‘Stories of the G’ on 40 years of the G-Class was on display until autumn 2020. The G is another of those cars I really like.”

Helpers and classic off-road vehicles: Benedikt Weiler in Collection Room 5 with exhibits from the exhibition “Gallery of Helpers”. The special exhibition “Stories of the G” on 40 years of the G-Class can be seen here from October 2019 until September 2020.

Image gallery.