The Globe Museum at the Austrian National Library is the only one of its kind in the world. Located in the stunning Palais Mollard just around the corner from the Hofburg palace, it is home to a collection of 240 earthly and celestial globes, models of the moon and various planets, as well as various instruments that contain globes. Putting the cartographical detail to one side for a moment, the appeal of these exhibits stems from the incredible artistic quality and superior craftsmanship on display. Highlights include the oldest globe in Austria, which dates back to 1536, and a globe of Earth that measures some 118 centimetres across.
The Third Man Museum near Naschmarkt – a magnet for fans of the film – also provides fascinating insights into post-war Viennese history. In addition to featuring a comprehensive collection of original props which featured in Carol Reed’s 1948 classic, the exhibition takes an in-depth look at its historic background and the Austrian capital’s occupation by Allied forces between 1945 and 1955. 13 rooms containing 2,500 exhibits such as cinema programmes, sound recordings and video footage as well as the original zither played by Anton Karas await curious visitors. Karas’ music was a global hit – and with 400 cover versions and counting, the Harry Lime theme tune has come to embody the enduring popularity of The Third Man soundtrack. This lovingly curated private museum also contains a fully-functioning projector from 1936, which is used to show short sequences from the film.
Another of the capital’s private museums takes an occasionally alternative look at the world of art forgery. Located opposite the Hundertwasserhaus in the third district, the Museum of Art Fakes tells the tale of spectacular criminal endeavours by notorious counterfeiters, and uses various entertaining devices to show visitors how to spot the difference between originals, copies and fakes. It doesn’t necessarily take an encyclopaedic knowledge of art to fully appreciate the 80 or so exhibits on show at the museum.
The Am Hof square in Vienna’s historic first district is home to the Fire Service Museum, which is located in the central fire service building. A large room with stucco ceilings on the first floor of the 18th-century Märkleinsches Haus contains historic exhibits including uniforms, equipment, photos and documents which shed light on more than three centuries of service by the Viennese fire department. There are also mementos from some of its more spectacular deployments over the years, such as the fires at the Ringtheater and the Rotunde. The museum is open on Sundays and public holidays, and admission is free. A German and English audio guide is available as a free smartphone app (Hearonymus Audioguide, www.hearonymus.com).
Sigmund Freud is not the only psychiatrist with his own museum in Vienna: This particular honour has also been bestowed upon Viktor E. Frankl, who is celebrated around the world as the founder of logotherapy and existential analysis. The Viennese psychiatrist, neurologist and holocaust survivor lived in the building that houses the museum from the end of the Second World War until his death in 1997. Opened in 2015, the Viktor E. Frankl Museum lifts the lid on the great thinker’s life, work and influence. Visitors also have the chance to do some thinking of their own: any requests for help with meaning and existential issues are answered with excerpts from Frankl’s papers and speeches.
- Globe Museum, Palais Mollard, Herrengasse 9, 1010 Vienna, www.onb.ac.at
- Third Man Museum, Pressgasse 25, 1040 Vienna, www.3mpc.net
- Museum of Art Fakes, Löwengasse 28, 1030 Vienna, www.faelschermuseum.com
- Fire Service Museum, Am Hof 7, 1010 Vienna, tel. +43 1 531 99, opening times: Sun and holidays 9am-midday, https://www.wien.gv.at/menschen/sicherheit/feuerwehr/museum (German only)
- Viktor Frankl Museum Vienna, Mariannengasse 1/15, 1090 Vienna, www.franklzentrum.org