Posts Tagged ‘Bayernhof museum’

The Bayernhof or Little Bavaria, Pittsburgh, PA

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Have 3 free hours and $10 to burn in Pittsburgh on a Saturday? You could easily put down 6.67 drafts of cheap beer and while away the hours in a dark smoky dive bar. But here, I give you a far superior alternative, one that is possibly just as cave-like and trippy: the Bayernhof Museum. Perched on a hill overlooking the Allegheny River sits a beautifully elaborate and, at times, awkward mansion built to house one of the largest privately owned collections of antique mechanical musical instruments. Outside the main entrance, an ominous sign greets visitors: if you arrive early, kindly wait in your car until the tour begins. On the dot, the door creaks open and you think you’ve entered the Neuschwanstein Castle—if the Bavarian kingdom abutted the era of 1980s home entertainment technology. Each room of the Bayernhof houses a different enchanting machine for listening: nickelodeon player pianos, nickel-operated Wurlitzer organs, harps and banjos, phonographs, an enormous pipe organ orchestra made for silent films, even a dainty singing bird cage. The tour, led by the museum’s curator, takes a circuitous path from room to room of German kitsch, beer steins, and Hummel figurines, past the 18 stocked bars of the house, a shower with over 10 shower heads, an observatory, down a small hidden staircase into a subterranean lair through a cool, dark wine grotto that leads to a large pool room littered with colorful, rustic wallpaper murals and faux flower arrangements. There is even a purple felt billiards table along the way, but alas, I’ve already said too much. Advanced reservations recommended, no nickels required. In one final word: magical.