The Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art
The Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art, founded in 1895 and housed since 1917 in the Schönborn Garden Palace in the Josefstadt district of Vienna, displays collections of the traditional folk culture of Austria and its neighbouring countries. The renovation of the building in the 1980s and 1990s permitted a new conceptualization and design of the exhibits on the ground floor. Not only does this now provide an overview over premodern folk culture, but it has also made possible a glimpse into the unique folk art collection of the Museum.
The intent is to show people in their relation to the environment and the economy, to history and to society, as well as to illustrate how they think about their place in the world. The selection and display, as well as the arrangement of the individual rooms in the museum, are meant to direct the view to what lies behind the objects, and to allow visitors to reflect on the connections between objects and life history. Folk-created objects, dating largely from the 17th to 19th centuries, speak of everyday life and everyday needs, of vernacular architecture, of work and faith, or of poverty and rural pride.
The collections show culture as it is reflected in folk art, providing evidence of its many-sided expressions -- strange as they may appear to us today. The aim of the new exhibition design is to question the objects themselves, to examine their regularities and functions, and to interpret their meanings in context. At the same time, the collection illuminates the fascination with "County and People" (Land und Leute) that shaped the manner in which the collections displayed in the museum were assembled.
In keeping with the ideas that led to the founding of the Museum, the new display emphasizes the folk art collections of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. In so doing, the comprehensive imagery of rural culture of the alpine and prealpine realms that is displayed is both supplemented and completed.
The Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art is for visitors and Viennese alike. It is of interest to all those who wish an overview of Austrian folk culture, but it is also meant for those whose special interest lies in the aesthetically-crafted popular arts.
How to get there
Tram routes 5 and 33 (get off at Laudongasse)
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