Me being a fan of the city of Vienna is not necessarily a secret. Ever since I was a teenage girl, I’ve wanted to move to the capital, live the big city life. Moving away on different occasions has made me realise once again how great this city is and how much it has to offer. It’s definitely not a coincidence that it’s been selected most liveable city in the world for the past nine years and it even beat Melbourne in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index a few days ago! There is so much culture, art, history, cuisine, architecture to discover that there is no way that a weekend in this city will ever be enough. And what better place to discover the history and people of Vienna than the Wien Museum? I only discovered the Vienna Museum a year ago when I moved near Karlsplatz and my tram station always advertises for their exhibitions. That’s when I started to do a bit of research on it and discovered that on every first Sunday of the month, the museums of the city of Vienna can be entered free of charge! So what are you waiting for?
So it happened that I spent four hours in the museum on a Sunday and if I hadn’t been too cold already from the air conditioning, I probably would have even extended my stay because I really loved their exhibitions. Currently, they have three great ones, each of them very different, but equally good, I reckon. On the top level – apart from the permanent exhibition – you can find a very touching one called ‘What Remains: Traces of Refugees’. There are personal belongings such as a train ticket, or a kids’ jacket displayed and next to it, you will find boards with the story of each belonging on them. It is a very important exhibition as it takes the whole migration debate to a more personal level. The topic of migration has been extremely present in our lives, be it in the media, politics, our local communities and especially for me, having worked on migration topics at the Council of the European Union, it is nice to see it from a different angle. In my personal view, the Vienna Museum always manages to address important current issues, like they did with ‘traces of refugees’.
‘Traces of refugees’ is not the only current exhibition that they have. Marking the 100th anniversary of Otto Wagner’s death in 1918, Wien Museum prepared an exhibition telling the Austrian architect’s life story, career path and displays his designs and drafts that he participated in competitions with and some of which were never realised. Having lived in Vienna for a few years, I am well aware of some of his achievements like the Otto Wagner Pavillon at Karlsplatz, but I had no idea how important he really was in the past (and present) and what a big contribution he’s made to the city of Vienna as it is today. If you take a walk through the city with your eyes wide open, you will discover the many buildings that he designed and recognise the exquisite style that he is known for. At that time, Otto Wagner got many contracts from the Habsburg monarchy and he was considered a forerunner in modern architecture, not that I know anything about architecture, but I still find it very fascinating! Modernising architecture was very important to him, which did not please everyone, particularly not the monarchy. He was a teacher at university and managed to get his ideas spread all over the world. Looking at one prominent Viennese architect and his achievements has allowed me to look at the history of Vienna from a different point of view and has made me realise how much influence one person has had on how a city is built and what is left of it today.
On the ground floor you will find an exhibition called ‘Skin Deep. Hair dressers, barbers, beauticians’. It’s quite fun to see where some of our beauty idols come from and how our perception has changed over time. Be it on pop culture or photography, Wien Museum’s exhibitions are always inspiring and informative. Check out their website for more information on any upcoming exhibitions. Apparently, in October, they have an exhibition telling the story of the transformation of the Monarchy to the First Republic of Austria in photographs. I guess I’ll see you there then in October?
The Wien Museum is open for you from:
Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
24 December and 31 December: closed
Closed: 1 January, 1 May, 25 December
General admission is EUR 10,-
Discounts for senior citizens, students up to 27 years of age, persons with disabilities, Vienna Card, groups of 10 or more EUR 5,-
Every first Sunday of the month: FREE!
P.S.: All photos were taken by B.K., DANKE!