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Exterior view of the Narrenturm (Fools' Tower)
© Naturhistorisches Museum/Kurt Kracher

Collection of Anatomical Pathology in the Madhouse Tower – NHM

If the walls of the Madhouse Tower could talk, they would have so much to tell. Mind you, most of the stories would not be suitable for anyone of a nervous disposition. It was opened in 1784, and was where mental patients were once accommodated; people who were regarded as needing to be shut away from the rest of the population. Here in this imposing round building, hidden away behind the old Vienna General Hospital (today a university campus), up until 1869, the inmates led a miserable existence. They were locked in cells, sometimes even chained to their beds and strapped into straitjackets. 

Since 1971 it has housed the world’s largest public collection of anatomical pathology exhibits, with around 50,000 items, open to all visitors. The corridors and cells contain specimens showing all kinds of malformations and diseases, which were used by students and doctors, as today, to study human diseases and make advances in medicine. These days some people even contact the curators directly to offer parts of their body for inclusion in the collection after their death. Maybe that’s a particularly Viennese way of being remembered for ever ...

Collection of Anatomical Pathology in the Madhouse Tower – NHM

Spitalgasse 2, Narrenturm
1090 Vienna
  • Vienna City Card

    • Your benefit with the Vienna City Card: -0%

      Special Offer: Entry ticket 2€, Guided Tour 4€

  • Prices

    • Visitors under 19: Free admission
  • Opening times

    • We, 10:00 - 18:00
  • Accessibility

    • Special offers for people with disabilities

      Tours for visitors with disabilities and special needs on request.

    • Comments

      Seeing-eye dogs permitted in some parts.