Galleries of Marvel

Open Storage

Since 24 January 2019
The collections at Weltmuseum Wien comprise a total of about 200,000 objects. As only 1.5 per cent of the total inventory is on display in the galleries of the permanent exhibition, most of the objects are located in the various depots of the Museum. Weltmuseum Wien opened this exhibition depot to lift the lid on about 800 additional objects and to enable visitors to experience the great diversity of its collections.

About the Open Storage

About the open storage

The setup of the open storage is rather pragmatic. On the one hand, it is still a depot with a clear focus on the pragmatic “storage” of objects without any specific explanations or the presentation of individual objects in the foreground. On the other hand, it is also quite pragmatic in terms of the displayed objects’ qualities or properties: old next to young, sacred next to profane, rare next to mass-produced goods, and unique next to serial objects.      

The name Galleries of Marvel reinforces the exhibition character of the presentation. Intended as an invitation for visitors to take a closer look, they should not simply walk by but rather stay for a while and marvel at the many different objects. The open storage strives to captivate its visitors and excite them not only for the great extent of the collections but also for the diversity of human cultural expression.

Daily except Wednesday
10 am to 6 pm

Weltmuseum Wien

1010 Vienna, Austria

New at Galleries of Marvel

Loss / In memory of the Brazilian National Museum

New at the Galleries of Marvel

On the night of 2 September 2018, the Paço de São Cristóvão burns in Rio de Janeiro, the former residence of the Portuguese and later Brazilian imperial families. The Austrian Archduchess and first Empress of Brazil Leopoldine lived here from 1817 until her death in 1826. A large part of the structure of the palace is destroyed.

Thus the majority of the collections, archives and printed materials of the Brazilian National Museum, which had its seat here since 1892, become ashes. With more than 20 million objects, its exhibitions were the result of the institution's history and its outstanding research and teaching activities. The collections of natural history, archaeology and ethnography were most affected.  They documented the empire and the emergence of a nation with its diverse traditions to this day. They served research at various institutions and linked Brazil with other regions of the world. Many stories have been told with the collections in the last 200 years, others now remain only in memory.

Museums are places of preservation and their collections are media of memory that also create emotional bonds. The museum's architecture conveys permanence. It appears indestructible and creates for eternity. The tragic events of September 2018 make us aware of its vulnerability. The fire at the Brazilian National Museum is unfortunately only one example of culturally significant sites and objects that have been destroyed worldwide in recent decades, whether by tragic circumstances or acts of war.

Uncovering Pacific Pasts

Uncovering Pacific Pasts

The international project Uncovering Pacific Pasts examines the ideas, people, and networks that have been critical to the development of the discipline of archaeology and influence how we deal with the long history of the Pacific. The Weltmuseum Wien is participating in this exciting project with a display cabinet showcasing the archaeology of New Guinea.

In a joint contribution, the Natural History Museum Vienna and the Weltmuseum Vienna reveal the early contributions of Austrian scientists to archaeology in the Pacific. At the same time, it shows us how biological and cultural prejudice can mislead scientific research by examining the first known archaeological excavations on the New Guinea mainland, which were carried out in 1905 under the supervision of Viennese anthropologist Rudolf Pöch (1870–1921).

In collaboration with

Images of human being

Images of the human being

The human body is a central motif in the creation of art. Human figures do not always represent specific individuals but occasionally also abstract ideas or beings from other worlds. At the same time, abstract representation may also refer to actual people in real life. And not everything is recognised as a human being right away either.

Faces as reflected in masks play a vital role in communication. A face inevitably stirs up emotions and often requires just a few hints to become a clear message. All it takes are a few lines and dots for a ☺ to have an effect on us.

Musical instruments

Musical instruments

Museums turn things into objects. This also means that they are integrated according to various categories, some of which bear no relationship to the original function and significance of the objects in their societies of origin.    

Nevertheless, these categories may also reveal quite surprising connections between objects. The instruments on display, for example, are divided into four categories of sound production: membranophones (causing a membrane to vibrate), aerophones (causing a body of air to vibrate), idiophones (causing the instrument as a whole to vibrate), and chordophones (causing strings to vibrate). It might come as a surprise that something made from an infinite number of combined rhythms and melodies could be based on just four basic principles of physics.

Play me!

Austrias first public street piano

The first permanent street piano in Austria with a permannent home awaits visitors in the Galleries of Marvel. All visitors are invited to play the piano during the museum's opening hours.

The piano was donated by the United Street Pianos by Sofia Taliani on the occasion of the second birthday of the Weltmuseum Wien.



Ethnographic museums claimed to present the material culture of a society as a whole. Certain objects could only be collected to a limited extent due to their sheer size. In the early nineteenth century, museums instead began to have models of such objects made to close this collection gap.    

Buildings and boats serve as symbols of sedentism and mobility, of ties to a certain place and freedom. At the same time, however, they also refer to the relationship between a society and its environment.

Cultural Patronage

Cultural Patronage

Did you fall in love with a particular artwork during your visit to the Galleries of Marvel? By adopting an artwork from one of our collections you help us preserve our rich holdings for future generations.
In return for your commitment and support, we offer unexpected insights into our collections, and the opportunity to learn about the research conducted by our curators. And becoming a patron does not have a time limit – your name will forever be connected with your “godchild” in the museum’s electronic inventory.
Treat your loved ones to a very special gift – adopt an artwork for your children or grandchildren, or as a unique present to celebrate a birthday, an anniversary or a wedding. Join us and support art!

Read more

For more information, please contact
Katrin Riedl
+43 1 525 24 - 4032

Recipient: Weltmuseum Wien,
a museum of the KHM-Museumsverband
IBAN: AT83 6000 0005 1011 8553
Verwendungszweck: Cultural Patronage Weltmuseum Wien

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