Display Collection on Historical Folk Culture

The permanent exhibition of the Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art was opened in 1994 and provides insights into the museum's extensive folklore collections.
"The new display collection" is the moment of arrival, the self-presentation of the museum, the ideal goal of museum collections. The last arrival at the Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art was in January 1994. The opening of the new display collection marked the end of a more than ten-year phase of building, ideas for expansion and alternative location considerations.

A clear decoupling of the objects from expected concepts such as regionality, technology or chronology was presented. This deconstruction of the folkloristic narrative canon - especially in the exhibition architecture - provoked numerous contrary reactions. This approach to design had a long durability, as can be seen from today's perspective - more than 25 years later.

The composition of the exhibits and the design of the showrooms (architecture: Elsa Prohaska) draw attention to their life-historical context. The objects - among others furniture, household goods, textiles, ceramics, working tools, two built-in parlours, religious objects - are mostly from the 17th to 19th century. They tell of everyday culture, of building and living, of work and faith, of poverty and past everyday lives. They were once collected out of interest in popular aesthetics.
Themes are humans in their relationship to nature and the environment, rural economies, collective memory and social order. The exhibition collection shows the versatile and today often strange-looking forms of expression of popular design. The exhibition aims to question the objects in terms of their content and to make their laws and functions speak for themselves.

In its abstract and reflective conception, the still existing display collection is still suitable as a space for discourse. Mediation services use the exhibition collection to transparently communicate research activities: The Shores of Austria, provenance research at the museum and the soya research project are each closely related to the display collection and demonstrate its potential and limitations.

The book accompanying the display collection can be downloaded free of charge from the online publications: www.volkskundemuseum.at/onlinepublikationen or obtained from the museum: buchbestellung@volkskundemuseum.at

Exhibition guide on provenance research at the museum and in the display collection:
Englisch language
French language

The Shores of Austria. The new display collection at the Volkskundemuseum Vienna
Since September 2018, the permanent exhibition has included objects that tell of flight, migration and arrival. They pose questions to an ethnology for the 21st century.
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