Berggasse 19 on a sunny day

Berggasse 19 on a sunny day

For years after Freud left Vienna, there was not even a plaque on the building. In her later years, c. 1971, Anna Freud was invited to return to Vienna and take part in several commemorations. The signage was minimal when I was here 30 years ago, and the Foundation had less of the building. Only in recent years has the signage been increased, and a street-level storefront purchased to expand space for art exhibitions and lectures (from a former Kosher butcher shop on the site!) The upper floors are still occupied by residents who have been here, some for many decades. I met one of them last night, who lived here as a child when the Freud family was still here. The outgoing Director, Mag. Inge Scholz-Strasser, together with her advisory board, staff, and trustees, have made great strides in creating this museum as a space for all who are interested in Freud and his legacy – and not only the clinical history and legacy, but much more broadly cultural, political, and social contributions of psychoanalysis. It is separate from the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute, and independent from any single interested party, although there is a wide inter-disciplinary representation on the advisory board. This has helped me to understand as I’ve settled in here in the last 2 1/2 weeks why the Fulbright chair here is so relevant and important – as a cross-disciplinary, ongoing international conversation with U.S. scholars from a variety of fields and their counterpart scholars in the University of Vienna, as we rotate in and out each semester. For comprehensive information on the museum including the house, the library, the archives, the current “Film Noir” lecture series (which I attended last week), and rotating art and documentary exhibits, see: http://www.freud-museum.at/cms/#.

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About pcooperwhite

Christiane Brooks Johnson Professor of Psychology and Religion, Union Theological Seminary, New York NY
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