Funeral Museum
© Bestattungsmuseum Wien

Magnificently curious: Vienna's unusual museums

Apart from the world-famous, cultural-historic treasures of its renowned museums, Vienna is also home to quite a few unusual collections. These museums open up new perspectives and throw light on some fascinating secrets. Curtain up for Vienna's magnificently curious museum treasures. 

A museum to die for: Funeral Museum

"Death is inevitable – so let's celebrate it", is the motto of Vienna's Funeral Museum. Not only the name but also the location says it all. For where else could be better for such a museum than Vienna's Central Cemetery? Everything here revolves around "a schöne Leich" ("a nice body"). Elaborate multimedia stations, a historic coach for transporting bodies, and centuries-old folding caskets give an insight into the cultural history of the final farewell. And there's more: visitors here can even make close contact with the "wooden overcoat" once a year. During the Long Night of Museums (October), the Funeral Museum even invites you to try lying in a casket. Also wonderfully quirky is the gravedigger merchandise such as the Lego figures available in the museum shop, including little undertakers and hearses. So it's no accident that the Viennese are said to have a certain morbid tendency.

Death and homicide: Museum of Crime

Even if death might be a Viennese, as Georg Kreisler so nicely sings, the Viennese soul per se is naturally harmless. Usually, at any rate. Yet murderers, robbers, police operations, and executions happened everywhere – including in morbidly romantic Vienna. The Museum of Crime in Vienna has therefore set itself the task of throwing light on the dark side of big city life. Learn here how Austria did not always have one of the lowest crime rates in the world and that some of the most exciting crime stories originate from this otherwise tranquil capital city.

At the push of a button: Museum for grandchildren and vending machines

In Vienna-Penzing, the former businessman and "emperor of the vending machine" Ferry Ebert has transformed his former private office into a mini-museum. There are numerous vending machines here from earlier years: from Manner-Schnitten vending machines to automatic mailing machines and the cult Pez vending machines, you can marvel at all sorts of curios here. If you only expect to see chewing gum vending machines here, you're well wide of the mark. Ebert is considered to be a "condom pioneer" because he installed the first condom vending machines in 1956, which can naturally also be marveled at in his collection. He himself is now over 80 years old, but continues to run the private guided tours with as much enthusiasm as ever. Appointments can be made by calling tel. +43 664 130 04 05.

In the little room: Sanitation Museum

At first glance, it may not seem all that exciting, but it is definitely important – the history of Vienna's sanitation facilities. The daily shower, the toilet in your own four walls, and access to hot water in the home: what has long featured in the Viennese standard of living would still have been pure luxury a few decades ago. In the Sanitation Museum, you can immerse yourself more deeply in the history of Bassena (a public fountain, mostly in the corridor of an apartment building) and the Tröpferlbad (a colloquialism for a public bathing facility), marvel at sanitation facilities of the Viennese bathing centers or the final Otto Wagner toilet from the former Stadtbahn station at Nussdorfer Strasse. Clearly a museum visit that came out in the wash!

Another brick in the wall: Brick Museum

If you thought things couldn't get any more bizarre, you can throw the first stone. But please, not a brick. Because even in the Vienna Brick Museum, it's still best to look with your eyes. Everything here is dedicated to the basis of many foundations: the brick. Countless exhibits from around the world and different epochs prove that even the smallest stone can be very important. Admission is free – in return, the museum operators look forward to visitors bringing in bricks to add to their collection.

In Harry's footsteps: Third Man Museum

Much less ambiguous is the historical significance of the British thriller The Third Man. Not only is it an evergreen among movie fans but also considered a historical document of the post-war period in Vienna. The Third Man Museum thus show movie props as well as various exhibits and original documents depicting the reality of life in devastated and occupied Vienna. By the way: The admission ticket for the Third Man tour also gives visitors a 50% discount on admission to the museum.

History in three-four time: Museum of the Johann Strauss Dynasty

When thinking about Vienna, many people not only hear Anton Karas' "Zither Solo" from The Third Man but also happily hum the Blue Danube Waltz. Its creator, Johann Strauss, has long been a symbolic figure of the romantic three-four beat. The Viennese Waltz King quite often overshadows his family. Yet his father, brothers and nephew were also important Austrian musicians and composers. In the Museum of the Johann Strauss Dynasty, the impact of the entire family is explained in words, pictures, and, of course, sound. Thanks to high-quality headsets, visitors can enjoy selected musical compositions.

For everyone who can't get enough of curious museums:

Funeral Museum at Vienna's Central Cemetery

Simmeringer Hauptstraße 234, 1110 Wien
  • Vienna City Card

  • Opening times

    • Mo - Fr, 09:00 - 16:30
    • March 1 - November 2 Sa, 10:00 - 17:30
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • 12 Steps (Double swinging doors )
        Ramp: 6 % incline with intermediate landings of 120 cm length, wall opening of 160 cm and a passageway opening of 144 cm (from railing to railing);
    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Comments

      Alternatively to the ramp: 12 steps 14.66 / 35 cm, wall opening 160 cm, handrail on both sides 144 cm, passageway opening 144 cm;

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Crime Museum (Kriminalmuseum)

Große Sperlgasse 24 , 1020 Wien
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Museum for grandchildren and vending machines

Beckmanngasse 7, 1140 Wien
  • Opening times

    • Tour by telephone appointment with Mr. Ferry Ebert
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Museum of Sanitary History

Mollardgasse 87, 1060 Wien
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Vienna Brick Museum

Penzinger Straße 59, 1140 Wien
  • Opening times

    • Open every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month from 10.00 am to 12 noon. Closed on public holidays and in July and August.
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Third Man Museum (Dritte Mann Museum)

Pressgasse 25 , 1040 Wien
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