Classical Choices articles are about those classically beautiful, famous, and large museums, full of secrets, stories and things to discover. These museums are also visited by many people and commonly known. As I love to visit these museums, I occasionally make little articles about them.
I was in Vienna recently, not only to explore the city’s fun museums, but also to attend a highly important conference.
I had time to visit 3 museums of Vienna, two of them I had not visited before, and one of them I visited for the 2nd time, to see how it developed since my first visit.
Naturhistoriches Museum Wien
This is the Museum of Natural History in Vienna, situated on the Maria Theresien Platz, having the Kunsthistoriches Museum (Art History Museum) on the opposite side, as a twin building. Although we are talking about a very well established institution, having thousands of pieces (some of them completely unique and mentioned in every school manual in the world – picture below), many of them collected by the Habsburg family, this traditionally composed museum is surprisingly prepared for 21st century.
The results of seemingly hard work made up by museum staff is visible in audiences. I decided to visit the museum “just a little bit, to have a look” because I did not have enough time for a detailed visit. However, my “having a look” option lasted 3 hours and a half. During that time I noticed virtually every kind of audience I could imagine – even those audiences that are usually mentioned as “least interested in museums” such as teenagers, immigrants/minorities groups or people with disabilities.
Even though this museum keeps extremely beautiful original exhibition furniture, and modern exhibition design concepts are used only for temporary exhibition, the museum is crowded and does not look like a place “for academic or professional visitors only”. Between these antique and massive wooden boxes fulfilled with pieces of heritage, there are numbers of installations invented and placed there for visitors to have fun.
This could be a way to teach biology and a part of similar disciplines at school. Not at school, but in this museum. The truth is – there are very few Natural History museums like this in the world, and very few children have opportunity to come to Vienna or a similar city. Is this the time to rethink ways of teaching at schools?