Long Night of Research

on 13 April – free admission

The Weltmuseum Wien participates in the Long Night of Research and offers various programme highlights, giving insight into the wide range of scientific demands to the Museum. Numerous presentations, lectures, conversations, and interactive stations both for children and adults are dedicated to the curatorial and conservational work with a non-European collection.

The stations

Getting to the bottom of things!

The countless objects found at the Weltmuseum Wien were made from many different, surprising, and unusual materials from all over the world.

Join the two conservators Christiane Jordan and Barbara Pönighaus-Matuella and discover an exceptional diversity of materials: learn how to use different types of microscopes, explore some of the amazing characteristics of selected materials, and find out more about the reasons for certain changes and damages to the objects.

This interactive station is also interesting to children of at least six years of age.

6–8 pm
in the gallery South Seas: Encounters with Paradise Lost

Tombstone of Jakob Eduard Polak

Axel Steinmann talks about his research on Jakob Eduard Polak (1818–1891), one of the most important mediators of culture and knowledge between Austria and Iran. In his two-volume masterpiece Persien. Das Land und seine Bewohner (Persia. The Land and its People), Polak presented the first comprehensive, modern portray of the country. Aside from teaching modern Persian at the University of Vienna, he published the Deutsch-Persisches Konversations-Wörterbuch (German-Persian Conversation Dictionary) as well as various medical books and studies in Persian. His passion for Persia was also the reason for his nickname “Persian Polak” in Vienna.

6–7.30 pm
in the gallery At the Threshold of the Orient


Conversation on the Quetzal Feather Headdress

The oldest known reference of the probably most famous object of the Weltmuseum Wien, the feather headdress, is as a "Moorish hat", mentioned in the inventory of the collection of Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol, at Ambras Castle in 1596. In the nineteenth century, the object was moved to Vienna. During its restoration in 1878, feathers and metal elements were supplemented. Since it was assumed at the time that the object was originally a standard, and not a three-dimensional headpiece, the flat form of presentation was chosen, which can no longer be corrected due to the fragility of the piece. In conversation with the curator in charge, Gerard van Bussel, visitors are invited to discuss and ask about this famous and yet not uncontroversial object.

6–8.30 pm in the gallery Stories from Mesoamerika

What on Earth is "Linking and Looping"?

Headed by textile conservator Sophie Fürnkranz, this interactive station invites guests to try out various knitting and weaving techniques. The information desk explains the textile techniques of linking, looping, and knotting based on a thread that is continuously looped through itself. These single-thread systems are found all across the world – with numerous examples found in the permanent exhibition of the Weltmuseum Wien. Learn all kinds of meshing and knotting techniques, and take your first textile tries back home.

This interactive station is also interesting to children of at least six years of age.

6–8 pm
at the Kaleidoscope

Research in the Mongolian Steppe. Cooperation Projects with the Weltmuseum Wien

(lecture in English)

In this presentation Maria-Katharina Lang & Tsetsentsolmon Baatarnaran (both Institute for Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences) will give an overview on past and current research projects in Mongolia. The projects take objects from the collections of the Weltmuseum Wien as starting points and as links to show entangled histories. Artefacts are also fragments of dispersed and connected (life) histories along the old and new steppe and silk roads.

6.30–7.15 pm, 8–8.45 pm
at the WMW Forum

Sharing Stories – a Multi-Perspective Storytelling Experiment

The project Sharing Stories invited many different people to bring an object that is important to them and tell its story. In cooperation with our various partners, the project resulted in a multi-perspective storytelling experiment as discussed in the exhibition. If you are interested, bring your own object of choice and tell its a story for our future online archive. Your conversation partners will be the curators Karin Schneider (art educator) and Bianca Figl (project head).

7–10 pm in the transit space Sharing Stories. Speaking Objects

Model of a Daimyō Residence. Curatorial and Conservational Challenges

The renovation of the architecture model of a daimyō residence was a three-year project with the goal of restoring its appearance according to Japanese architecture. Bettina Zorn (curator) and Florian Rainer (conservator) talk about the special challenges in this complex project. Not only had humidity and abrasion resulted in the loss of various layers of paint, but the whole model was also very dirty to begin with. As most of the roof tiles were missing, some 15,000 tiles were needed to close up the roof. They were made by the TU Wien from dental plaster and then finished at the Weltmuseum Wien. Numerous wood elements had to be duplicated in every single detail from Japanese wood.

8–10 pm
in the gallery 1873 – Japan comes to Europe

Unbiased Research?

The so-called Vienna School of Ethnology was highly influential both in academic and social debates in the first half of the last century. Nevertheless, the Catholic character of the researchers has always been a point of criticism of their theories. Is there such a thing as unbiased research, though? Reinhard Blumauer will provide in introduction and discuss this complex issue.

8–10.30 pm
in the gallery Kulturkampf in Vienna

Out of the Box – Moving Worlds

The exhibition Out of the Box – Moving Worlds establishes a dialogue between the dynamic environments of people in Vienna and museum objects. In this context, people of different backgrounds and with different stories comment objects of the Weltmuseum Wien from their very own perspective. The contributors are members of UrbanNomadMixes, a Vienna-based group of people with diaspora experiences. Out of the Box was developed within the scope of SWICH – Sharing a World of Inclusion, Creativity and Heritage, and was co-financed by the European Union’s framework programme Creative Europe. On the occasion of the Long Night of Research, visitors will be able to meet members of UrbanNomadMixes, Camilo Antonio (initiator UrbanNomadMixes), Jani Kuhnt-Saptodewo, and Doris Prlic (both Weltmuseum Wien).

8–10.30 pm
in the gallery Out of the Box

Captured Booty? A Gift? A Trade?

How did exhibition objects end up in the Weltmuseum Wien and how are we dealing with their stories today? How do museums deal with knowledge gaps? The curator Nadja Haumberger discusses these and many more questions based on examples from the collections of Alfred L. Sigl, colonial official in the region of today’s Tanzania. The session will focus on curatorial approaches to collections, questions on their work as curators, and dealing with archival materials, such as letters, photographs, or inventory entries.

9–10.30 pm
in the gallery In the Shadow of Colonialism

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