The Theater Museum brings together collections on all topics of the performing arts and is one of the biggest and most important documentation centers of its kind in the world. Here you can admire costumes, photos, stage designs, construction plans, props and many other items from the world of theater. Objects of contemporary Austrian and international stage art from spoken and musical theater via dance and film to figure and puppet theater are kept in the archives and scientifically researched, published and presented in exhibitions.
The museum evolved from the Theater Collection of the Austrian National Library, whose origins go as far back as the Baroque era. In 1923, the collection was enlarged when the theater collection of the famous actor and former director of the Vienna Burgtheater, Hugo Thimig (1854-1944), was bought.
The Theater Museum has been housed in the magnificent Palais Lobkowitz near the Imperial Palace since 1991, and is worth a visit if only to marvel at its impressive ceiling frescoes and paintings. The heart of the theater is the concert hall, the Eroicasaal, named after Beethoven's Third Symphony, which was dedicated to the sponsor and owner of the palace, Joseph Franz Maximilian, Prince of Lobkowitz. This and other of Beethoven's works were performed for the first time here.
The collection includes around two million objects from the world of theater. Only part of it is on display, of course, but there are always interesting special shows. One highlight are the expressive stick puppets by the Art Nouveau artist Richard Teschner. Children are playfully taught about the world of theater in a separate department.
The naked truth
The Theater Museum is also home to a very special guest: Gustav Klimt's Nuda Veritas from the year 1899. The painting, which shows Marie Zimmermann naked, is typical of Klimt's departure into Modernism. He created it in response to the lack of understanding he was accused of by an often conservative general public. The literal "naked truth" appears as a life-size nude figure that corresponds to contemporary ideals and holds up a mirror to the visitors. In the Nuda Veritas Room, newly created in 2022, the painting is joined by artist colleagues of Klimt: Hermann Bahr, Anna Bahr-Mildenburg, Joseph Maria Olbrich, and Gustav Mahler, as well as Alfred and Mileva Roller.
Nice to know: The museum´s audio-guided tours offer a perfect opportunity to explore the magnificent building. They lead to the most important stations and let the visitors dive deep into the history of this unique institution.
Café at Palais Lobkowitz
Since May 2023, Palais Lobkowitz has also had a wonderful, seasonal café: Small Italian dishes are prepared and served in the Baroque courtyard of the Theater Museum on a re-purposed cargo bike. There are also coffee specialties and aperitifs. Should the weather fail to play along, guests can make their way to the tables in the museum's foyer. The café is open from Wednesday to Sunday (from 10.00 am to 5.30 pm) and probably until November 2023; a museum ticket is not required. More information
Theatermuseum for Children and Young People:
Performances, guided tours and workshops by prior arrangement
Tel. +43 1 525 24-5310