Third International Learning Exchange 5 - 7 October 2015
From 5 to 7 October 2015 six NEMO Members together with the Museumsbund Österreich - Austrian Museums Association had an insight into the Austrian museum landscape.
In Austria the State Museums are run by companies, though the collections are still state-owned – is this structure a practicable way? The group talked to Brigitta Schmid from the Natural History Museums about this topic.
At the Austrian Military History Museum the focus was on how national history can be facilitated in an exhibition. How can we integrate the different views and perspectives on history in exhibtions – for example on World War I? Christoph Hatschek gave a guided tour with insightful information on how to cope with this challenge. The almost obligatory welcome drink on the roof top of the Natural History Museum and a Viennese "Schnitzel" in one of Vienna's famous cafes were part of the first day as well.
On the next day the first stop was the Museum of Austrian Folk Life and Art, where a young team takes on the challenge to vividly engage visitors, museum lovers, thinkers and philosophers in the process of collecting against the backdrop of a more or less "broken museum". What should be kept for the coming generations and why? Herbert Justnik explained what's going on in the museum. Later on, the working situation of the Austrian Museums Association and the huge project "Museums Registration" were discussed. More than half of the Austrian Museums (about 800) are run on a voluntary base, that means no payed members of staff at all. In Vienna there are only a few museums that operator on a voluntary basis, so the group visited the Zahnmuseum, which is more or less run voluntarily.
Gabriele Dorffner is the only professional staff member at the Zahnmuseum, she is part time employed and is confronted with two different owners of the Zahnmuseum's collections: in part the collection belongs to an association, and to the hospital. Additionally, Mrs. Dorffner spends a lot of her spare time in the museum – for collection management, exhibition management and much more. The visit was followed by a tour of the Josephinum facilitated by Moritz Stpisits. The Josephinum is a university collection - or scientific collection - that is open to the public. The day was concluded with a visit to a typical Viennese restaurant type, a so-called "Heuriger", which is a kind of wine tavern.
The last day was spent at the Dom Museum Wien in the morning, where the group got to know a very modern ecclesiastical collection. Finally, the NEMO members got to meet the over 30 members of the board of the Austrian Museums Association.