Ralph Appelbaum Associates

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World Museum Vienna

Vienna, Austria

World Museum Vienna 6
World Museum Vienna_10

The World Museum Vienna is the largest anthropological museum in Austria. Established in 1876, it resides in the former Hofburg Imperial Palace and houses more than 400,000 ethnographical and archaeological objects from Asia, Africa, Oceania, and America.

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World Museum Vienna 4

The World Museum describes its new, signature permanent exhibition as “a pearl necklace of histories.” With four separate entrances from the monumental Columned Hall, the exhibition consists of fourteen thematically independent halls that explore the art, culture, and belief systems of non-European cultures, as told through the lens of Austria’s long history of cultural interaction, collection, and ethnographic research. From Mamluk mosque lamps to Himalayan copper drums, more than 3,000 artifacts (1.5% of the museum’s vast holdings) are now on display.

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The journey, which RAA planned and designed, is non-linear. Deliberate breaks in the formal presentation of the museum’s collection were implemented to allow for contemporary discourse concerning the history of ethnology and contemporary cultural perspectives. Each of the fourteen halls has a unique curatorial idea, which RAA translated into unique scenographic presentations, placing an emphasis on the collections and their interpretation, while also aiming to surprise and intrigue.

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World Museum Vienna 8

The museum has emerged as a significant and important voice in conversations about the traditions and ethics of the anthropology museum. It uses voices of curatorial colleagues from the collections’ countries of origin to present a new dialogic and interactive museological model.

Size 2,400 square metres

Year 2017

Architect Hoskins Architects

Project Details

Lighting consultantVasko + Partner Ingenieure ZT GmbH

AwardsEuropean Museum Forum (EMF), European Museum of the Year (EMYA): Winner, Kenneth Hudson AwardDesign Award of the Federal Republic of Germany (German Design Award): Special Mention, Fair and ExhibitionDezeen Award: Longlist, Civic and Cultural InteriorGOOD DESIGN® Award: Winner, EnvironmentsInternational Design and Communication Award (IDCA): Finalist, Best Scenography for a Permanent CollectionInternational Design Award (IDA): Bronze, Interior Design / Exhibits, Pavilions and ExhibitionsInternational Design Awards (IDA): Bronze, Interior Design / Exhibits, Pavilions and ExhibitionsRed Dot Award: Winner, Spatial Communication

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