A somewhat different museum -
Imperial Furniture Collection

One has to be lucky in life. My luck is to have a really good friend, Hedwig Abraham, who works as a touristguide in Vienna. Hadn't I known her, I'd never had the idea to visit the Imperial Furniture Collection. I wouldn't even have known, that there is such a thing. And I am convinced, that just a very small percentage of the Viennese knows about it. Probably even less people know, where to find it - at Mariahilfer Straße 88.

Paying the entry-fee, I notice, that there is not only an exhibition of the Imperial Furniture, but that there are some small rooms assigned to a moveable exhibition about Marilyn Monroe. It is interesting as well, that the furniture is to be seen for the amount of 3 Euro, whereas the price for Monroe is 4,50. There is, however, a combination-ticket at 6,90 Euro, which i purchase.

Marylin must excuse, she has to wait, because the other part is more important to me. At the beginning we are greated by paintings of the "hosts", Francis Joseph and his wife. Just the big painting of Sissy (Empress Elisabeth of Austria) ist worth the money, the medallion is a bonus.

Then I start looking around. The wheelchair is impressive, the spittoons impress not really, even if they are witnesses of the customs from long ago. The collection of candelabras and candlesticks, which is shown in the next room, isn't that interesting either. But there are some minor artefacts, like the original records about the transport of furniture, or old signboards, which for instance marked the entrance of "Seiner k.k. apost. Majestät Obersthofmeisteramt".

The next room makes you think. Here you can see the imperial crown an the sceptre, which made Maximilian, the brother of Francis Joseph, Emperor of Mexico - but what use are power and wealth, if you must pay for it with your life? In the same room there is the coffin, in which Maximilian was brought back to Europe after his execution...

The imperial exhibition contains parts of furniture owned by Francis I until Charles I, that means during all the time, that the Hapsburgs were Emperors of Austria.
Naturally mirrors were important pieces of a room's decoration. To the left there is the set, that Maria Theresa had made for the newly purchased castle in Hetzendorf. The mirror to the right simply invites you to make a photo of her in double vision.

Apart from mirrors there are examples of the most different pieces of furniture, starting with a throne, showing desks and cupboards to chests of drawers made by the most exquisite craftsmen. On the upper floor there is furthermore an archive, in which a couple of rooms are crowded up to the ceiling with chairs of various design. There are as well some furnished rooms from bourgeois homes, in which I found some pieces, which resembling those I remember my grandparents owned.

And now it becomes quite cosy. At least the four-posters give this impression, showing off the imperial style. To the left there is the bed-room of Francis Joseph and Sissy in the Hofburg (the Castle), to the right a more common bed-room from another castle on the countryside. But again your mind comes up with a question: to what use are the noblest beds, if the matrimonial life doesn't work out... Besides, it is said that Francis Joseph preferred to sleep in an ordinary bed.

Coming to an end, there are two quite "modern" examples of furniture. To the left you see the turkish room, which Crown Prince Rudolph had ordered for himself, following the trend of time, whereas the picture to the right shows the work-room of Emperor Charles I.
After this impressive tour in the Furniture Collection we drop in to the Monroe-exhibition and admire beauty of another kind. But now I see, why there was a difference in price: in the furniture part of the museum we hardly met anyone, here it is almost crowded... It seems that they must have some popular exhibitions running at the same time, to be able to maintain the Collection. Isn't that a pity?

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16.4.2003 by webmaster@werbeka.com