Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum was created at the beginning of the 20th century as an initiative by Munich artists and designers. They wanted to respond to the innovations in the field of applied art with a forward-looking collection's programme, providing the arts and crafts museums popular in the 19th century with a contemporary counterpart as a result. The Munich Association for Applied Arts was founded as early as 1903 in opposition to the Bavarian Arts and Crafts Association, which later included members of the Werkbund, founded in 1907. The association, renamed Münchner Bund in 1911, wanted to gather exemplary objects together in a modern collection of models that stood for design focused on current industrial developments and modernist principles. The aim was to train the eye for the contemporary. Numerous works acquired in these early years form the basis of today's collection.
Die Neue Sammlung was officially founded as a state museum in 1925, when it was housed in the Bavarian National Museum, under the title Department of Industrial Art. In 1929, the museum was renamed after the title of the first official presentation of the collection in 1926 – "Die Neue Sammlung", aptly chosen because of its striking reference to the new – had proved to be a successful synonym for the museum. The institution's agenda still pursues the concept of the new today: since its beginnings, it has preserved objects that are paradigmatic for a concept of design closely related to industrial development and that serve as models of contemporary design. Groundbreaking examples in the history of design therefore entered the collection shortly after their market launch, including products from the Wiener Werkstätte, Bauhaus or the Ulm School of Design, as well as complete product series from major companies such as AEG, Braun or Olivetti. As a result, Die Neue Sammlung can boast an extraordinary collection of industrial design.
The scope of the collection has become particularly apparent to visitors since the museum moved to the Pinakothek der Moderne in 2002, where a comprehensive permanent exhibition presents important objects from the collection and discusses the many aspects of design with changing presentations.
Today, Die Neue Sammlung covers 23 collection areas, including graphic design, furniture, ceramics, silver and glass, but also jewellery, sporting goods, secondary architecture and significant examples of design processes (prototypes). Its broad focus enables an extensive view on the history of modern design, which makes Die Neue Sammlung an exemplary museum.