Naturhistorisches Museum

Naturhistorisches Museum

The day after Christmas we visited the Natural History Museum, which is beautifully preserved in its original ornate splendor. Many of the exhibits are in original wood and glass cases. However, the interpretive materials are very up to date and raise important questions about global warming, the ozone layer, and the extinction of species around the world. The main photo here shows a detail of the architectural ornamentation in the rotunda area, which echoes the art historical museum across the plaza.
Naturhistorisches Museum A typical exhibit hall with original cabinetry, and murals on the walls above.
Naturhist auditorium
There is also a late 19th century lecture room, where we saw a very modern show of projected images of live microscopic creatures that would be typically found in your kitchen, bathroom, and common outdoor areas (eeuuww factor pretty good for the children present!)
Nazi anthropology film archive
And a grim reminder of my own research in Vienna – but I was glad to see that the Museum has tackled this issue of conscience in its interpretative materials: there are some display cases along the stairs to the 2nd level showing the history of the museum, and they include documentation of the Naxis’ racial “science” experiments in which they measured the physiognomy, hair and skin color, and other features to create a worldwide racial map as part of their project of “proving” the superiority of the “Aryan” race. This photo shows an actual film clip from the Nazi era.


About pcooperwhite

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