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Dive Into The Details Of Kunsthistorisches Museum's History

The magnificent Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna is a must-visit for anyone with a penchant for art and history. Built over a century ago, it boasts an impressive collection of artworks from famous artists like Bruegel and Rubens. Not only that, it also holds a trove of ancient artifacts from Egypt and the Near East. You can learn more about the fascinating history of this museum on this page, which will give you an enriching experience during your visit!

Kunsthistorisches Museum Timeline

Construction of KHM
  • 1871: Construction of the museum was commissioned by Emperor Frans Joseph I and was worked upon by the lead architect Gottfried Semper.
  • 1891: Kunsthistorisches Museum, which houses the Habsburgs' extensive art collection, opens its doors to the public.
  • 1895: The museum adds a new wing to its building to accommodate the ever-growing collections.
  • 1918: Following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, ownership of the museum's collection is transferred to the new Austrian Republic.
  • 1938-1945: During WWII, the museum is partially destroyed, and the collection is relocated for safekeeping.
  • 1951: The museum undergoes renovations and reopens with a newly expanded collection.
  • 2012: Museum introduces new multimedia installations, digital guides, and interactive displays.
  • 2018: The museum celebrates its 125th anniversary with a special event and exhibition.
  • 2020: The museum temporarily closes due to the Covid-19 pandemic but begins offering virtual tours, thus expanding its digital presence to a global audience.

Kunsthistorisches Museum History Explained

Gottfried Semper

Construction of Museum (1871)

Construction of the Kunsthistorisches Museum is commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph I, with renowned architect Gottfried Semper leading the project. It marks the beginning of the creation of a magnificent institution to house the extensive art collections of the Habsburg dynasty.

KHM public opening

Public Opening (1891)

The Kunsthistorisches Museum opens its doors to the public, showcasing the vast and diverse art collection amassed by the Habsburgs over centuries. It has become a hub for art enthusiasts, scholars, and visitors from around the world, offering a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the Austrian Empire.

People at KHM

Addition of New Wing (1895)

With the growing collections, the museum adds a new wing to its building, expanding its exhibition space and ensuring that the ever-increasing art treasures find a deserving place within its grand halls.

KHM ahead of transfer

End of Monarchy (1918)

The collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire brought about significant changes, and the ownership of the Kunsthistorisches Museum's collection was transferred to the new Austrian Republic. The museum remains a symbol of national pride and continues to preserve and showcase the region's rich artistic legacy.

Damage to KHM

World War II Impact (1938-1945)

The tumultuous years of World War II have profoundly impacted the Kunsthistorisches Museum. The museum is partially destroyed during bombings, and the valuable collection is moved to safe locations to protect it from the ravages of war, ensuring its survival for future generations.

Reopening of KHM

Reopening of Museum (1951)

After extensive renovations and restoration efforts, the Kunsthistorisches Museum reopens its doors to the public, presenting an expanded collection that reflects the dedication and commitment to preserving and sharing art. It resumes its position as a cultural treasure trove, captivating visitors with its remarkable holdings.

Interactive art at KHM

Multimedia Enhancements (2012)

Embracing the advancements of the digital age, the museum introduces new multimedia installations, interactive displays, and digital guides, enhancing the visitor experience and offering innovative ways to engage with the art and history within its walls.

125 years of KHM

125th Anniversary Celebration (2018)

The Kunsthistorisches Museum celebrates its 125th anniversary, marking a significant milestone in its history. Through special events and exhibitions, it commemorates its enduring legacy as a custodian of art, scholarship, and cultural heritage and looks forward to the next chapter in its journey.

Virtual tour of KHM

Digital Engagement (2020)

The global Covid-19 pandemic brings temporary closure to the museum, but it adapts swiftly by offering virtual tours and expanding its digital presence. This allows art enthusiasts from all corners of the globe to explore its remarkable collections and continue their engagement with art despite physical restrictions.

Construction of Kunsthistorisches Museum

Construction of KHM

Kunsthistorisches Museum Today

Today, the Kunsthistorisches Museum continues to captivate visitors from around the world with its timeless allure. Stepping inside its majestic halls, one is greeted by a vibrant tapestry of art and culture. The museum is a guardian of history, showcasing a vast collection spanning centuries, from classical antiquity to the modern era. Paintings by renowned masters like Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Caravaggio adorn the walls, while sculptures and decorative arts exude an air of grandeur. Contemporary exhibitions and innovative displays breathe new life into the museum, engaging visitors with interactive experiences and fresh perspectives!




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Frequently Asked Questions about Kunsthistorisches Museum History

When was the Kunsthistorisches Museum built?

The construction of the Kunsthistorisches Museum began in 1871 and was completed in 1891.

Who commissioned the construction of the museum?

The museum was commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary.

What was the purpose of building the Kunsthistorisches Museum?

The museum was built to house and exhibit the extensive art collection of the Habsburg dynasty, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts.

What architectural style is the Kunsthistorisches Museum?

The Kunsthistorisches Museum is a prime example of neoclassical architecture, characterized by its grandeur, symmetrical design, and ornate details.

Who was the architect of the Kunsthistorisches Museum?

Kunsthistorisches Museum was primarily designed by the renowned architect Gottfried Semper.

What are some highlights of the museum's art collection?

Kunsthistorisches Museum boasts an impressive collection of masterpieces, including works by renowned artists such as Titian, Raphael, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

Has the museum undergone any renovations or expansions?

The museum underwent a significant renovation in the late 1990s, modernizing its infrastructure, improving exhibition spaces, and adding new visitor facilities.

Are there any temporary exhibitions held at the museum?

Yes, the Kunsthistorisches Museum regularly hosts temporary exhibitions that explore various themes and feature artworks on loan from other museums or private collections.

Was the Kunsthistorisches Museum affected by any significant historical events?

During World War II, the museum's valuable artworks were evacuated for protection, and the building suffered some damage. However, the majority of the collection was safely returned after the war.

Is the Kunsthistorisches Museum associated with any other museums or institutions?

The museum is closely affiliated with the Naturhistorisches Museum (Natural History Museum), which shares the same architectural design and is opposite the Kunsthistorisches Museum on Maria-Theresien-Platz.