Five museums to explore in Vienna
Vienna is a great city if you are into museums, with its history-rich background and its tradition as a cultural melting pot in the heart of Europe, there are museums to explore and things to learn for every taste imaginable. Here are a few of Vienna’s best museums, but remember to allow yourself enough time to browse through the exhibitions while you’re there.
The Naturhistorisches Museum (natural history museum), located at the Ringstraße, Vienna’s promenade of historic buildings, is an exciting place for anyone with interest in science. The museum is host to the world-famous Venus of Willendorf, various massive dinosaur skeletons and features a great digital planetarium. There are lots of changing exhibitions and events, so even if you’ve already been there a few times, a visit may well be worthwhile.
The Kunsthistorisches Museum (museum of art history) is located right next to the museum of natural history, with the two buildings facing each other and looking alike on the exterior. The museum houses the massive art collection of the Habsburgs among other collections on permanent display, but also provides a variety of changing exhibitions and events. The museum has also been subject to the biggest art theft in Austrian history, when the Cellini Salt Cellar sculpture was stolen in 2003. It has since been recovered and returned to the museum.
The Leopold Museum is home to one of the biggest collections of modern Austrian art, featuring works from artists like Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka. The focus of the collection is set to pieces from early 20th century Austrian artists, a period of great artistic creativity and cultural exchange, particularly in Vienna. Apart from the permanent exhibitions – among them the biggest collection of Egon Schiele’s works in the world – changing exhibitions featuring modern art from artists around the world provide variety throughout the year. The accompanying Café Leopold is a great cafe and bar, which is a nice location for a night out on the weekend.
The Museum of Military History provides great insight into the rich military history of Austria and the Habsburg empire. Objects on display date back to the 16th century and include uniforms, badges, weapons and even military machinery like tanks. A big portion of the exhibition is dedicated to the early 20th century, covering Austria’s role in the two world wars, which shaped Europe and the world in consequence. Military and civilian artifacts from this area give a great perspective on what life was like during that period and how these wars came to be.
The Jewish Museum in Vienna covers Jewish history, life and religion in Austria, retelling the rich and tragic history of jewish people in Austria. The museum saw a celebrated reopening in 2011 following major renovations and reorganisation. Regular evening events, including film screenings, performances and exhibitions by visiting artists, attract a good number of visitors throughout the year and provide a great introduction to jewish history, life and art around the world.