The "beautiful corpse" is not only an ostentatious funeral, but also an expression of a certain quality of life. The Viennese have a very special relationship with death. So what better location for the Funeral Museum than Vienna’s world-famous Central Cemetery?
A modern, interactive museum has been created on an area of 300 m² beneath the historic chapel of rest. Surely also one of Vienna's most unusual museums. Visitors learn interesting facts about the Viennese funeral service, the funeral industry, the history of Vienna’s cemeteries and about the features of the "Viennese cult of the dead" from the end of the 18th century until today.
Heartbeat meter and rescue alarm clock
More than 250 original objects and photographic material are on display, including an original "Fourgon" (coach for transporting bodies) from around the year 1900. A heart palpitation knife and a life-saving clock are the most bizarre exhibits: They date to a time when people worried about being buried alive. From the year 1784 comes the famous foldaway coffin, which Emperor Joseph II. had used in order to be able to recycle coffins several times.
A billing instruction of the imperial court can also be seen: It concerns the costs for the transport and funeral of the heir to the throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie von Hohenberg, who were shot dead in Sarajevo in 1914.
300 square meters – 30 stations – 250 objects
Interactive and multimedia content can be found throughout the permanent exhibition of the Funeral Museum. Videos, including one of the funeral of Emperor Franz Joseph in 1916, can be watched on 13 monitors, while an audio station allows the public to listen to the most popular songs currently played at funerals.
Death cult merchandising with black humor
The shop of the Vienna Funeral Museum is unique. Because the Grim Reaper himself is taken for a ride here – with cheeky sayings, quite disrespectfully. Here are some of the unusual objects you can buy that take a look at some unusual aspects of death (many in elegant black):
- Fan T-shirt "Der letzte Wagen ist immer ein Kombi" ("The last car is always a station wagon")
- Fan T-Shirt "Bestattungsmuseum Wien - We put the Fun in Funeral"
- Kitchen apron "Ich nasche bis zur Asche" ("I'm eating myself to death")
- Gym bag "Ich turne bis zur Urne" ("I'm exercising to death")
- Book bag "Ich lese bis ich verwese" ("I read until I rot")
- Sleeping mask "Ich bin nicht tot, ich schlafe nur" ("I'm not dead, only asleep")
- Towel with coffin print: For a comfortable rest on the beach
- Wooden coffin USB stick
- Skull-shaped pasta
- Cemetery honey – because Vienna is a city of bees!
Further tips for cemetery fans
- Buried in the totally remote, overgrown Cemetery of the Nameless are people who were washed up by the Danube between 1840 and 1940.
- The well tended St. Marx Biedermeier cemetery is just a memorial site nowadays. The musical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart found his final resting place here in 1791 (today: tomb at the Central Cemetery).