You may know Mönchengladbach (or: Moenchengladbach) for soccer, likely. However, the city hosts one of the most remarkable Star Wars exhibitions, which is also comparably famous: a former public swimming pool (you notice that just on very few places, though) hosts 800 square meters of Star Wars original movie items, dioramas and other movie requisites.
Stars Of The Galaxy – Location & Admission
Mönchengladbach is a Western suburb of Dusseldorf. The exhibition is located quite centrally, at the Berliner Platz. There are multiple parking lots and garages around. You may also likely arrive by train and walk from main train station.
The museum is only opening Thursday to Sunday. Thursday and Friday, the opening times are 12:00 to 18:00 hrs. Saturday doors are 10:00 to 18:00, Sunday 12:00 to 17:00. The adult admission is 9 Euro, there are several rebates available, e.g. for families. On Saturdays, you may also have guided tour for 40 EUR per group. As the place is former swimming pool and the heating has been removed, the museum explicitly states that it may be comparably cold inside. We did not freeze during our visit, though.
Stars Of The Galaxy -The Visit
The exhibition has been visited by a couple of original actors. Your first exhibits are some original autographs of these visitors as well as some concept art pieces. Very impressive, as well as the next stage of your journey through the exhibition, some LEGO-built star ships. One of them is the Millennium Falcon, the most expansive (and highest number of parts) LEGO set sold so far. The Star Destroyer is custom built and overall uses 400,000 pieces.
Statues and Dioramas
Obi-Wan and R2-D2 greet you before entering the next part of the exhibition. After you passed an originally signed mask of C3-PO and some original debut series German Star Wars series, you enter a massive showcase of premium format figures, featuring well-known as well as side characters. Some of the figures have glowing light sabers, for example – they are very detailed in general. A massive display – one of the most impressive of the whole place, is a detailed one of Mos Eisley, Tatooine. There are also a couple of great size busts on top of the display.
After passing a couple of Hasbro prototype figurines, you enter a corridor which hosts a couple of smaller dioramas. In a room by the side, you can see the the massive Tatooine diorama from another perspective as well as some other models – the most impressing ones are likely the cantina and the Ewok village (which is hard to take pictures of). There are also some lifesize figures and other items in the same room.
You will soon enter a room with various spacecraft models. The cross section of a Millennium Falcon allows you to have a look inside the ship. There are references to other movies throughout the exhibition – you may find some Guardians Of The Galaxy ones in this area. You see a couple of dioramas as well as some interesting displays like the life-size Salacious Crump holding the C-3PO head.
Death Star Control Room
In the Death Star Control Room, you meet lifesize Darth Vader with Grand Moff Tarkin. The following parts of the exhibition feature a couple of cool life-size statues and some more model figures. A couple of following exhibits feature Jabba. Thereafter, you see the cabin of the cantina in which Han Solo shot Greedo. On the other side, there is Han Solo in Carbonite.
In The Old Swimming Pool
The digital guide tells you nicely that you now enter the real old swimming pool area. At the beginning, you don’t recognize it too much and you will likely be amazed by the selection of lightsabers and weapons or by the lifesize Ephant Mon. Here are also some weapons from other non-Star Wars movies. After a couple of dioramas (one of them is honoring Bill Hargreaves), you reach another collection of LEGO stone models.
Heading downstairs, the next collection you see are former movie and film requisites and costumes, not from Star Wars movies. It does not fully suit the topic of the major rest of the museum, but the collection which features a couple of very well-known films and artists, is quite impressive.
The very final room of your visit, before you turn around and head back is the Ice Planet. The key exhibit shows the Battle of Hoth – your first eye contact is likely either to the giant yeti-alike Wampa or the 1:6 model of an AT-AT, which is still 4.5 meters high and 5.7 meters long. The whole room and all its exhibits is a really amazing finish of the visit.
Stars Of The Galaxy – Shop & Services
The museum shop is likely one of the most amazing ones I have ever visited. You can purchase a massive number of Star Wars and movie related souvenirs. Some of the stuff is really rare and can cost in the range of several hundred Euros. If you visit the toilets next to the shop, you can even watch a “Back To The Future” Hoverboard.
The museum offers free WiFi in most locations. This also allows you to download a digital museum guide, which is avaialble in German, Dutch and English. We felt that though walking through the exhibition is often quite self-explanatory and straight-forward, it was a nice reference to have a look into from time to time.
Stars Of The Galaxy – My View
Congrats to the whole team of the museum – this place is just awesome. I am not too much a Star Wars fan (okay, I have to admit that I have a deep crush for R2-D2…), but this place just let’s you re-live all the amazing stories. Hard to imagine how they gathered all these items to the museum. The dioramas are excellent. Tattooine tells so many stories – I felt like being at the Miniaturwunderland or Gulliver’s Gate. If you are around, give this place a try – I had an amazing time there, tough it could be a bit less dusty here and there.