Austrian Theatre Museum

For fans of the theater culture in Vienna who would love to soak up on the history of the performing arts in the city, there is the Osterreichisches Theatermuseum, the Austrian Theatre Museum in the Baroque Palais Lobkowitz. Opened in 1922 at the Austrian National Library, the vast collection of theater memorabilia housed in the museum dates back to the 17th century. It was only in 1979 when the museum was transferred to the Palais Lobkowitz after being acquired by the government. In 2001, it was integrated as a branch of the Kunsthistorisches Museum.
The extensive collection is made up of over 2,000,000 items: more than 700,000 photos and promotional materials, 100,000 drawings and hand sketches, over 1,000 stage and set designs, around 2,000 personal items belonging to actors, composers, playwrights and dramatists, along with numerous props, costumes and many more. It also has a library (which is still part of the National Library) which holds over 80,000 books, periodicals and plays. Visitors who go through the exhibitions will gain an appreciation for the evolution of theater not only in Vienna but its influence in the rest of the theater culture around the world. Some notable items include the designs and sketches of Alfred Roller and Caspar Neher who were influential theater personalities in the 20th century, original autographs by Ludiwg van Beethoven, Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss and the only one made by Franz Kafka which was written on a page from his novel “Amerika.” Kids can also learn about theater through a separate department in the museum where the exhibitions are laid out in a more colorful and playful manner.

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