Volkerkundemuseum (Vienna)



Tel. 01- 5252 4484
Open: 10am- 6pm Wed- Mon

Subway: Volkstheater, Herrengasse



Description of Volkerkundemuseum

Volkerkundemuseum is an ethnological museum with a collection of weapons, furniture, clothes, masks, musical instruments from various regions of the World including Africa, Polynesia, Australia, South East Asia and other regions. Some of the most interesting items come from the Eskimo cultures that live in the Arctic as well as large collection of pre-Columbian Mexican nations from the jungles of Mesoamerica. The latter includes exquisite feathered head dress worn by Aztec ruler.


Ethnographic collections of the Habsburg monarchy
As early as the 16th century, ethnographic objects were collected in the so-called chambers of art and curiosities. Important pieces, such as a feather crown from the time of Montezuma, were found in the "Ambraser Collection" by Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol, which was moved to Vienna during the Napoleonic Wars.

The Collection v. a. through expeditions and trips undertaken in the 18th and 19th centuries, such as the circumnavigator James Cook (1728–1779) (Emperor Franz I had objects auctioned in London at the beginning of the 19th century), the naturalist Johann Natterer (Austrian Brazil Expedition 1817-1836) and by the Austrian frigate "Novara".

From 1876 the holdings of the anthropological-ethnographic department of the "Naturhistorisches Hofmuseum", which later became the Naturhistorisches Museum, were taken over. This included the collection of the Austrian heir to the throne, Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este, who had traveled the world in 1892/93. It alone comprises around 14,000 objects.

Museum of Ethnology
Finally, on May 25, 1928, the “Museum of Ethnology” was opened in the Corps de Logis of the New Castle, which was originally planned as a residential wing. In the post-war period, decisive renovation measures were carried out. This made it possible to expand the program, which was characterized by numerous temporary exhibitions. Matzen Castle and the Charterhouse Gaming acted as branch offices of the museum.

Rehabilitation phases
Numerous renovations were carried out in the 1990s and 2000s. For example, the cellar rooms were expanded into depots, in which the museum's collections are now located. In 2001 the museum became part of the KHM Museumsverband as part of the spin-off of the federal museums. Due to further work on the building, the house had to be closed from 2004 to 2007. With a large Benin exhibition, the museum was reopened in May 2007 after extensive renovation. However, this only applied to special exhibitions. The permanent exhibition has not been open to the public since 2001.

World Museum Vienna
In April 2013 the museum was renamed Weltmuseum Wien.

From November 2014 the museum for conversions was closed. Minister of Culture Josef Ostermayer called for a redimensioning of the redesign for financial reasons. In January 2015 it became known that the World Museum should be reduced to 3900 square meters of exhibition space. At the same time a house of history with around 3000 square meters of exhibition space was to be created. The Weltmuseum Wien was reopened on October 25, 2017 with an open air designed by Andre Heller at Heldenplatz.

Focus of the collection
The museum has over 250,000 ethnographic objects, over 140,000 historical photographs and 146,000 pamphlets on the culture and history of non-European peoples. In addition to the Cook collection, with objects from Oceania and North America, there are pre-Columbian feather works such as the last existing feather crown from the time of Montezuma, the large collection of Johann Natterer from the Austrian Brazil Expedition, bronzes from the West African Kingdom of Benin and about 14,000 objects, had the heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand gathered on his world tour.

The World Museum Vienna houses nine collections:
Africa southern of the Sahara
North Africa, Middle East, Central Asia and Siberia
East Asia: Korea, China, Japan
South, South Asia, Himalayas
Insular Southeast Asia
South America
Oceania and Australia
North and Central America
Photo collection

Sabine Haag has been General Director of the Kunsthistorisches Museum with Museum of Ethnology and Austrian Theater Museum since the beginning of 2009. From 2010, after Christian Feest's departure, she also headed the Museum of Ethnology on an interim basis. On May 1, 2012, the Dutch Steven Engelsman became director of the museum. Christian Schicklgruber succeeded him in this position on January 1, 2018.

Management since 1928:
Fritz Röck: 1928-1945
Robert Bleichsteiner: 1945–1953
Leopold Schmidt: 1954-1955 (temporary director)
Etta Becker-Donner: 1955-1975
Hans Manndorff: 1976-1993
Armand Duchateau: 1993-1994 (interim director)
Peter Kann: 1994-2002
Gabriele Weiss: 2002-2004 (interim management)
Christian Feest: 2004-2010
Sabine Haag: 2010–2012 (represented by Barbara Plankensteiner)
Steven Engelsman: 2012-2017
Christian Schicklgruber: since 2018