Weltmuseum Wien

The Weltmuseum Wien is a meeting place for peoples and cultures and an institution where respect and interest in cultural diversity are promoted.


Dr. Steven Engelsman

“In May 2012 I was selected to be the new director of the former Museum für Völkerkunde Wien. Already then I knew this museum has large potential, housing one of the most important historical ethnographical collections worldwide.

I now see my main task in accompanying the Weltmuseum Wien on its way to a glorious future. Our museum is a meeting point, where cultural diversity rules and everyone is equal. Welcome to the Weltmuseum Wien!”

Dr. Christian Schicklgruber
Deputy Director
Chief Curator

"Since its founding, the Weltmuseum Wien has dedicated itself to non-European cultures and as a result - for a long time - to the embodiment of the radical other and foreign.

We have nevertheless moved away from the historical division into "us" and "the others" for a number of reasons. There were never the others, never two others, who are equated with each other; every human stands for himself. Accordingly, the is revealed as an identifier of a singularity, which represents a mere construction. The "others", in times of modern globalisation and the recent waves of immigrants, have become part of a multifarious, culturally shaped "us". The future narrative of the museum will also address the interaction between Austrians and inhabitants of other parts of the world, thereby making this distinction again obsolete.

The foreign, on the other hand, remains. The world was, and is, informed by cultural diversity - and this will also be the case in the future. Yet while this is the case, none of the innumerable foreignnesses was ever a self-contained entity; global interweaving has characterised human history since the beginning.

The Weltmuseum Wien, after its re-opening, will recount this in a "chain of stories". Some of these are historically shaped, where we also address explicitly the dark aspects of our own history, such as colonialism and the acquisition background of our collections. Other stories emanate from the direct and vital contact with the people from whose societies the objects arrived in the museum collections.

A selection from this reservoir of a hundred thousand things - a varied and multi-faceted ensemble of curiosities, exotica, objects of art, gifts and artefacts from scientific field work - should generate appreciation for and understanding of cultural diversity. At the same time, no "exotic" world of images or encyclopaedic total presentations will be offered. The museum can not portray the world, as was formerly believed. Instead, the visitor will be encouraged, as an active observer, to assemble the mosaic pieces into his or her own picture. To this end, the museum aims to inspire, and by means of this sensory experience, to arrive at greater sensibility regarding the appreciation of cultural diversity. In this manner, the boundary to the foreign - not the foreign itself - will become porous  and, via the recognition of a common humanity, ultimately erased. The visitors to the Weltmuseum Wien should return home with the experience of the universality of mankind. And they should come back again."


The Weltmuseum Wien is part of the KHM-Museumsverband General Director Dr. Sabine Haag and Chief Financial Officer Dr. Paul Frey.

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Dr. Rudolf Ertl (Vorsitzender)
Univ. Prof. Dr. Theodor Öhlinger (stellvertretender Vorsitzender)
Dr. Brigitte Borchhardt-Birbaumer
HR Dr. Josef Kirchberger
MMag. Dr. Thomas Kohlert
MMag. Bernhard Mazegger
Dr. Ingrid Nowotny
Amtsdirektor Johann Pauxberger
Peter Tampier


[pdf] Jahresbericht 2015 (7.6 MB)



Weltmuseum Wien
Neue Burg
Heldenplatz, 1010 Wien
Tel. +43 1 534 30 – 5052 oder 5053