Applied Arts Museum (Vienna)


Stubenring 5
Tel. 01- 711 360
Subway: Stubentor, Landstrasse
Bus: 74A
Trolley: 1, 2
Open: 10am- 6pm Wed- Sun
Closed: Jan 1, May 1, Nov 1, Dec 25


Description of the Applied Arts Museum or MAK

Applied Arts Museum or MAK (Museum fur angewandte Kunst) as it is locally known was originally found on March 7, 1863 by Emperor Franz Joseph I, as interesting collection of art and industry. It contains an impressive collection of Islamic, East Asian art as well as Renaissance jewellery, European furniture and etc. Over decades the museum added new masterpieces. One of the most important Austrian artistic movements of Secession left a mark here. It was named after a group of artists who split from the Vienna academy in 1897 over artistic differences with the mainstream art. Their movement, known also as Jugendstil, left a collection of new and unique masterpieces presented in the Applied Arts Museum.


Rudolf von Eitelberger, first professor of art history at the University of Vienna, was appointed director. The museum essentially followed the example of the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria & Albert Museum), founded in London in 1852, and was intended to serve as a model collection for artists, industrialists and the public as well as a training and further education center for designers and craftsmen. The opening of the museum took place on 12 May 1864, initially provisionally in premises of the Ballhaus next to the Vienna Hofburg, the architect Heinrich von Ferstel had adapted for museum purposes.



On March 7, 1863, the foundation of the k. k. Austrian Museum of Art and Industry - today's MAK - by Emperor Franz Joseph I. Rudolf von Eitelberger, first professor of art history at the University of Vienna, was appointed director. The museum essentially followed the model of the South Kensington Museum (now Victoria & Albert Museum) in London, founded in 1852, and was intended to serve as a model collection for artists, industrialists and the public, and as a training facility for designers and craftsmen. The museum opened on May 12, 1864, temporarily in the Ballhaus premises next to the Vienna Hofburg, which the architect Heinrich von Ferstel had adapted for museum purposes.

In 1867 the k. k. Kunstgewerbeschule (today the University of Applied Arts Vienna) of the k. k. Austrian Museum of Art and Industry founded. This combined theoretical and practical training. The school of applied arts was first opened in 1868 in the former rifle factory at Währinger Strasse 11–13 / Schwarzspanierstrasse 17 (today the Anatomical Institute of the Medical University of Vienna, which was newly built in 1886). k. Austrian Museum of Art and Industry located at Stubenring 3 and opened in 1877.

In 1897 Arthur von Scala, until then director of the k.k. Oriental Museum (later Austro-Hungarian Museum of Commerce), head of the Museum of Art and Industry and won Otto Wagner, Felician von Myrbach, Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann and Alfred Roller as employees of the museum and the school of applied arts. As a result of the clashes between Scala and the arts and crafts association (founded in 1884), which saw its influence on the museum wane, Archduke Rainer resigned as protector in 1898 and new statutes were drawn up. Two years later, around 1900, the administration of the arts and crafts school and the museum were separated, with the final separation only taking place in 1909: the Austrian Museum was Ministry of Public Works, the school remained with the K.K. Ministry of Culture and Education. In 1907 the Museum of Art and Industry took over most of the k.k. Austrian Trade Museum.

From 1865 to 1897 the museum published a magazine, which was published under the title Mittheilungen des k.k. Austrian Museum of Art and Industry appeared. From 1898 to 1921, on the other hand, the museum journal was published with the new name Kunst und Kunsthandwerk, which subsequently quickly gained an international reputation. Between 1955 and 1985 the museum published the magazine Old and Modern Art.

After the founding of the first republic, the museum was assigned to former Habsburg properties, for example oriental carpets. In exchange with the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Museum am Stubenring gave part of the sculptures and the collection of antiquities in 1936 and 1940 and took over the artifacts from the Figdor Collection and the Kunsthistorisches Museum. After the "connection" of Austria to the German Empire, the museum was renamed the State Museum of Decorative Arts in Vienna in 1938. Between 1939 and 1945 museums took over numerous private collections confiscated by the Nazi government, including the collection of the State Museum of Decorative Arts in Vienna. Since 1998, due to provenance research, numerous works of art have been restored to their owners.

In 1947, the State Museum of Decorative Arts in Vienna was called the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts. The museum reopened in 1949 after the war damage had been remedied. In 1965 the Geymüllerschlössel in the 18th district of Vienna was added to the museum as a new branch. At the same time as the building, the important clock collection by Franz Sobek (160 old Viennese clocks from the period between 1750 and the second half of the 19th century) and furniture from the years 1800 to 1840 came into the possession of the MAK. At the end of the 1980s, parts of the wall paintings were restored to their original condition when the facade was renovated. The subsequent reorganization of the facility and the extraordinary watch collection in the rooms of the Geymüller lock allows visitors a true-to-original insight into the variety of Biedermeier equipment.


The Arenbergpark battle tower - one of the six flak towers erected in Vienna during the Second World War - was run as a further branch of the MAK from 1994 and functioned as a MAK Contemporary Art Depot (MAK Tower) from 1995 to 2011, which housed essential parts of the museum's collection of contemporary art. The MAK Tower later had to be closed to the public due to a lack of official permits.

After a MAK exhibition about Josef Hoffmann in 1992 in his birthplace in Brtnice / Pirnitz (Czech Republic), contacts with the Moravian Gallery in Brno / Brno were intensified. Since 2006, both institutions have been managing Hoffmann's birthplace as the Josef Hoffmann Museum in the form of a joint branch. The museum presents its collection in a permanent exhibition, at the same time temporary exhibitions on Josef Hoffmann and his contemporaries are presented.

In 1994, the MAK established the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles, USA, which is now located in three important buildings by the Viennese architect Rudolph M. Schindler in Los Angeles (Rudolph Schindler House, Pearl M. Mackey Apartment House, Fitzpatrick -Leland House). The focus is on new trends and interdisciplinary developments in the fields of visual art and architecture, which are promoted by grants and projects and expanded by changing exhibitions.

An important area of ​​activity of the MAK is its presentation in public space. The museum actively supports contemporary artists, whose works are mostly presented as part of an exhibition in the MAK building and later as works of art in Vienna's urban space to mediate at the interface between art and public space. Several international artists are represented. These include James Turrell (MAKlite, permanent installation on the MAK facade, 2004, Stubenring), Michael Kienzer (Stylit, 2005, Stubenring / Weiskirchnerstraße), Franz West (Four Larvae (Lemur heads), 2001, Stubenbrücke), Donald Judd (Stage Set, 1996, Stadtpark) and Philip Johnson (Vienna Trio, 1998, Franz-Josefs-Kai / Schottenring, opposite Ringturm).

As part of the reorganization of the federal museums, the museum was released into full legal capacity in 2000 as a scientific institution under public law.

In 2015 the MAK initiated the Vienna Biennale, the first biennial that combines art, design and architecture. It lasted from June 11 to October 4, 2015 and was organized by the MAK in cooperation with the University of Applied Arts Vienna, the Kunsthalle Wien, the Architekturzentrum Wien and the creative center of the Vienna Business Agency, departure, and by the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology supported non-university research partner. The second Vienna Biennale took place from June 21 to October 1, 2017. The third edition of the Vienna Biennale will take place from May 29 to October 6, 2019.



1863 to 1918: K.k. Austrian Museum for Art and Industry
1918 to 1938: Austrian Museum for Art and Industry
1938 to 1947: State Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna
1947 to 1987: Austrian Museum for Applied Arts
1987 to 2001: MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts
2001 to 2019: MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art
2019 to date: MAK – Museum of Applied Arts



Rudolph Eitelberger (1863–1885)
Jacob von Falke (1885–1895)
Bruno Bucher (1895–1897)
Arthur of Scala (1897–1909)
Edward Leisching (1909–1925)
Herman Trenkwald (1925–1927)
August Schestag (1927–1932)
Richard Ernest (1932–1950)
Ignaz Schlosser (1950–1958)
Viktor Griessmaier (1958–1968)
Wilhelm Mrazek (1968–1978)
Gerhard Egger (1979-1981)
Herbert Fux (1981-1984)
Ludwig Neustifter (interim director, 1984–1986)
Peter Noever (1986-2011)
Martina Kandeler-Fritsch (interim director, February to August 2011)
Christoph Thun-Hohenstein (September 2011 to August 2021), 2016-2021 Scientific Director
Teresa Mitterlehner-Marchesani, commercial director since 2016
Lilli Hollein, Scientific Director since September 1, 2021

From 1869, a new museum complex for the k. k. Austrian Museum of Art and Industry in Neo-Renaissance style designed by Heinrich von Ferstel. The painter Ferdinand Laufberger made a frieze in sgraffito and the fresco paintings on the mirror vault of the staircase. On November 15, 1871, the museum was made accessible to the public as part of a grand opening and was inaugurated as the first museum building on the Ring. Laufberger's cartoons were lost, and so around 1893 the wall painting of the figures on the outside facade was recreated by students of Karl Karger at the Kunstgewerbeschule. From 1875, next to the Austrian Museum, an adjoining new building for the School of Applied Arts was built at Stubenring 3, the plans for which also come from Heinrich von Ferstel. It was opened in 1877.

In 1906, an extension for the museum at Weiskirchnerstrasse 3 was designed by Ludwig Baumann and completed in 1908. After the Second World War, the war damage to the museum building was repaired by 1949.

In 1989, the general refurbishment of the old building complex and the construction of a new two-storey underground storage facility began, creating further depots for the collection and additional exhibition space.

After this conversion, the museum was opened in 1993, the exhibition rooms of which were designed by artists such as Barbara Bloom, Eichinger or Knechtl, Günther Förg, Gangart, Franz Graf, Jenny Holzer, Donald Judd, Peter Noever, Manfred Wakolbinger and Heimo Zobernig. In 2014, the Carpets Show Collection was reorganized with an artistic intervention by Füsun Onur, as did the Asia Show Collection, for which Tadashi Kawamata was entrusted with the artistic design in 2014 and 2016.

The building on Weiskirchnerstrasse is reserved for temporary exhibitions, while the premises on Stubenring house the permanent exhibition and the MAK Design Lab.

The light installation MAKlite by the American artist James Turrell is attached to the outer facade of the MAK (first installation 2004, restoration 2018). The historic façade is illuminated in ten different colors using lighting technology developed with the Florentine artificial lighting expert Targetti using the latest LED technology. The installation can be seen from sunset to midnight and in the morning from 5 am to sunrise. James Turrell is also represented in the MAK collection with the skyspace The other Horizon in the MAK branch Geymüllerschlössel in the 18th district of Vienna.

MAK permanent collection
In line with its historical justification, the MAK Permanent Collection is divided into different sections based on functional earmarking.

VIENNA 1900. Design / Arts and Crafts 1890-1938
Asia. China-Japan-Korea
Renaissance Baroque Rococo
Baroque Rococo Classicism
Empire Biedermeier
Historicism Art Nouveau Art Deco

Collection highlights are the holdings of the Wiener Werkstätte, armchairs by Thonet and Kohn, Danhauser furniture, Klimt's design for the mosaic frieze in the Palais Stoclet, Du Paquier's porcelain room from the Palais Dubsky, a collection of Bohemian and Venetian glasses, Flanders and Italian lace, silver, Porcelain and carpets as well as Chinese porcelain, Japanese colored woodcuts (ukiyo-e) and coloring stencils (katagami).


MAK Design Lab
On the occasion of its 150th birthday in 2014, the MAK emphatically positioned itself as an interface for art and everyday life with the newly opened MAK Design Lab. Until 2014, the MAK Study Collection presented part of its extensive inventory there in a material-specific technological order. In the course of this repositioning of the former study collection, the MAK cooperated with the Austrian design team EOOS and the IDRV (Institute of Design Research Vienna) in order to make cross-connections between the art of the 21st century and earlier epochs directly tangible.

Since the transformation into the MAK Design Lab in 2014, almost 2,000 exhibits - divided into themed islands - have created a newly designed display area for realistic references between historical handicrafts and contemporary design in the entire basement of the museum. Interactive subject areas form a clear course on areas such as cooking (including a replica of Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky's Frankfurt kitchen), eating and drinking, sitting, artistic, industrial and alternative production, transport, communication and ornament as well as the Helmut Lang Archive that shows the artistic highlights based on selected designs.

The newly created passageways and modular units lead to a connecting spatial experience and allow rapid adaptation to changing requirements. The MAK Forum forms a flexibly usable space that is used as a meeting place as well as an experimental area for exhibitions and mediation formats.

The MAK Design Lab was reorganized as part of the Vienna Biennale 2019. The objects of the MAK Collection were placed in a new context and located at the interfaces between everyday life, society, digitization and climate change using multi-layered perspectives.

More showrooms
Changing exhibitions are held in the MAK Works on Paper Room – mainly from the library and the Works on Paper Collection – presenting, for example, posters, architectural projects, style copies or Japanese woodblock prints in their thematic diversity.

The MAK Library and Works on Paper Collection provides information on all areas of applied art. The literature spans the period from the 16th century to the present day, with some manuscripts, incunabula and printed works dating from the 15th century to the present day. The collection of works on paper brings together ornamental engravings, posters, photos, drawings, watercolors and plans as well as drawings from the Wiener Werkstätte archive.

The MAK Permanent Collection of Contemporary Art serves as a presentation space for contemporary projects by international artists, including those dealing with themes of Vienna around 1900.

With its online MAK Collection, the MAK makes parts of its holdings freely accessible to the public:
Japanese woodcuts/ukiyo-e
East Asian Art
Late Antique Textiles
ornament prints
Wiener workshop drawings
Joseph Binder - Graphic Design
English fabrics and wallpaper around 1900 (Arts and Crafts Movement)


Digital Museum

The MAK has a wide range of digital offerings. Data on the collection or the in-house publications are released for research and formats such as the MAK Digistories or the MAK Blog provide information on a wide variety of topics. The audio guide is provided free of charge in the form of a web-based app.

MAK Collection Online
From the end of 2012, the MAK began to set up a central object database. The contains over 300,000 results on objects and people, giving the MAK the largest online collection of all Austrian federal museums.

house publications
The museum's periodicals are available in full text. Over 50,000 pages of the in-house magazine "Mittheilungen des k.k Österreichisches Museum für Kunst und Industrie 1863 - 1897", as well as the follow-up magazine "Arts and Crafts 1898 - 1921", and the magazine "Alte und Moderne Kunst 1956 - 1985" can be browsed online and downloaded .

Google Arts & Culture
Since May 2017, the MAK and its collection highlights can also be visited virtually on Google Arts & Culture: gigapixel images of Gustav Klimt's work drawings for the mosaic frieze in the dining room of Palais Stoclet in Brussels (1910-1911) can be seen, as can parts of the heroic epic Hamzanama, das is one of the main works of painting in the Islamic world.

3D tours
The main building of the museum can be visited in a tour. The tour starts in the columned hall. There are also tours through the Geymüllerschlössl. In addition, individual exhibitions, such as those recently by Sheila Hicks during the COVID-19 pandemic, could be visited virtually in a 3D tour.

In addition to video and audio formats, there are already the first online games initiated by the MAK with “Mix MAK” and “World Wide Wonderland”.