The museum is housed in former barracks; the so-called redoubt (reduit) of the Upper Danube bastion. This historic building is nearly 140 metres long and only a few metres away from the banks of the Danube. It was built as part of the Federal Fortress of Ulm in the 19th century. According to the vision of the German Confederation, Ulm was to be developed into “a first-rate, centrally sited fortress and place-of-arms”. The fortress, which encompassed the entire city as well as Neu-Ulm, was positioned against an enemy which was expected to attack from the West. The defensive barracks (redoubt) were intended to accommodate soldiers and cannons in order to protect the town from any attack. However, in the entire 150 year history of this structure, not a single shot has been fired, nor has there been any need for an armed defensive action in the long history of Ulm’s fortress.
The building of the redoubt of the Upper Danube bastion was completed in 1855 and has hardly been altered since. Since 1974 it has been a listed protected monument. There are only two types of room in the three-storied barracks: Those which are positioned towards the city and were designed as soldiers’ quarters, and the defensive spaces directed away from the city with embrasures in the walls for firing cannons. Each floor has a useable space of just around 2,000m2. The building remained in the possession of the Federal Government until the end of the 1980s, even though it had not had any military significance for decades. In the period after World War II it also served as accommodation for refugees and expellees. The rooms were later rented out to various companies and associations.
In order to found the museum, the City of Ulm acquired the redoubt from the Federal Government and, from 1995 to 2000, had the building restored in its entirety under the direction of Ulm’s Municipal Building Authority. The entire technical infrastructure of the building was also renovated. Due to the installation of a staircase and a lift, the vaults in an entire wing of the building had to be destroyed. Aside from this, however, no further changes were made to the historical fabric of the building. The costs of the reconstruction were shared equally on a city, state and national level. The museum uses the space available on the ground and first floors; the second floor is rented out to local cultural establishments by the City of Ulm.