In 1969, nine years before his death, Willy Messerschmitt laid the foundations of the Messerschmitt Foundation with his close friend and advisor Dr. Hans Heinrich Ritter von Srbik. As Messerschmitt did not have any children, he wished to bequeath his shares in the company Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm GmbH to the foundation. The primary aim of the foundation was the preservation and maintenance of German artistic and cultural monuments in Germany and abroad as well as the promotion of young talent in the field of aviation – two aspirations very close to the heart of the brilliant engineer.
Largest private foundation dedicated to the preservation of monuments in Germany
As a designer, Willy Messerschmitt was an extremely creative individual whose life was partly shaped by artistic influences. His aircraft are characterized by beautiful aerodynamic lines. They embody the perfect combination of lightness, simplicity and outstanding performance. In addition to his own work as an aircraft designer, Willy Messerschmitt was also passionate about the visual arts.
Today, the Messerschmitt Foundation is Germany’s largest private foundation dedicated to the preservation of monuments of architecture. Projects are chosen by the Foundation’s Board of Directors. The Board is supported by a Foundation Council comprising a number of individuals who fulfil a function similar to that of a supervisory board. The Board of Directors works with local restoration authorities in Germany’s federal states during the course of restoration projects. The Foundation primarily focuses on the many different medium-sized and small art monuments that –through sheer number and diversity – provide us with such a rich cultural landscape. Although interest in these kinds of works is growing, resources for their upkeep are few and far between. A great deal of work needs to be done in the states of the former East Germany. The foundation is focusing its efforts on these states and the regions of southern Germany and Tyrol (Austria).
In the years up to 1998, the Messerschmitt Foundation invested a total of around DM 60 million (approx. EUR 30 million) in the restoration of historically valuable artistic and cultural monuments. To commemorate the life’s work of its founder, the Messerschmitt Foundation established the Messerschmitt Museum of Flight on his 100th birthday at the Airbus Defence & Space site.
Messerschmitt Museum of Flight