Not many of you know this, but I’m seriously in love with the city of Vienna. I’ve visited countless times (okay, like, more than 10), for both longer (a month) or shorter stays (a day or two). I pride myself with knowing my way around quite well, and mostly think of it as my second hometown. Today, I would like to write a bit about various museums I visited! In general, my experience has always been very positive, and museum roaming was my favourite past-time, or even the only reason for my one-day visits. Also, if you are a student, I really recommend getting an ISIC (International Student Identity Card), because you have a discount for entrance fees at every museum, and even at some shops.
Usually when I explain my way around Vienna, I start with two very famous museums – Museum of Natural History (Naturhistorisches Museum) and Museum of Art History (Kunsthistorisches Museum). They are easily recognizable and placed on the opposite side of the Maria Theresa square. I personally find it too overwhelming to visit both in the same day, because I like to look at every piece of art or item exhibited (however, I admit I didn’t look at every rock and mineral sample at NHM). Permanent exhibition at Natural History Museum is just gorgeous – it’s placed over two floors and it shows evolution, with part completely dedicated to anthropology. Here I learned more about various Homo species than during my high-school and college education. There are also many preserved specimens of various extinct and living species, taxonomically grouped; it took me more than four hours to walk through it all the first time I visited.
Picture 1. Some birds and some rocks (Natural History Museum)
When it comes to art exhibitions, things are a bit different for me – I often get lightheaded and even dizzy when viewing some paintings and sculptures, so even when I try to recall it, I often feel as I was in a dream-like state. Usually, the hazier it gets, the more emotional I feel inside of a museum, but I also don’t remember much, which is a case with the Art History Museum. I do remember being in constant awe and surprise – I learned about many featured artists, but it’s so different when their art is right in front of you. Almost the same can be applied to my visit to Leopold Museum, which happens to be in the Museumsquartier, very close to two museums I already mentioned. The key differences are, however, that Leopold Museum is a bit smaller, and hosts modern art. I clearly remember works of Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt. Then there is also Albertina, the museum I’ve visited the most, and yes, we are still at the art department. I’m not sure why I’m drawn to this place this much, but no matter how often I come, I always go through the permanent exhibition called “Monet to Picasso”, as well as any current exhibition they might host at the moment. If you are interested in history, I also recommend visiting Hofburg, as well as Schönbrunn Palace which is located further (you have to take the U4 railway). And when you are there, Schönbrunn Zoo is well worth visiting.
Picture 2. Art History Museum and the sculpture of Archangel Michael
I have only visited the Zoo once, but I loved every second of it. It was the middle of August, and it was incredibly hot and sunny, and for a moment I contemplated jumping to water along with the polar bear but changed my mind, so I could go watch koalas. I am being a bit over-dramatic, but it was really too hot – many animals were nervous, apart from lions. I was still in awe, because seeing a panda in real life is sometimes completely different than seeing many pictures and videos on the Internet. Also, I grew up watching Tom Turbo, so that was unexpected time-machine to my childhood as well! I would also like to mention The Butterfly House (which is actually placed close to Hofburg and Albertina). It’s actually a greenhouse, with many butterfly species in it. Just, when I visited, I saw like, three. I have to admit, I was quite disappointed, but I think I will visit again, just to make sure.
Picture 3. A monkey, some penguins, and a lioness
What did I forget? Oh yes, the gift shops! Every museum mentioned here has its own gift shop, full of many cute things! I tend to spend way too much time in these, and usually end up buying bunch of post cards and pencils (that I never use, of course!). With time, I evolved to buying fridge magnets and even some bracelets… But always at least one post-card 🙂
Picture 4. Me with much longer hair at Albertina
P.s. Federal Pathologic-Anatomical Museum, or Narrenturm, is another museum I believe it worth visiting, but only if you are really interested in these kinds of things and not squeamish at all!
What are yours favourite museums? Would you like to visit one in Vienna? 🙂