In 2020, the Long Night of Museums couldn’t take place and was changed to a format called “Time for Museums.” Missing was the connective element of thousands of people strolling through the night and visiting museums together. But it’s happening again – this year’s Long Night of Museums is taking place on Saturday, the 2nd of October! Not everything is as it used to be; obviously, there are precautions for health safety in place (3G-proof plus a limited numbers of visitors to avoid crowded museums).
A Short History of the Long Night of Museums
The unique concept of opening museums and other cultural organizations for one night originated in Germany. The first night of museums took place in its capital Berlin in the year 1997. Back then, only 18 museums participated, but the event grew quickly. In 2010 an impressive 93% of the questioned people in Berlin were familiar with the name. There are now a lot of similar events across Europe, and even Argentina organizes a long night of museums. Evolving from this concept, other formats were established, like the Long Night of Science or the Long Night of Churches.
Austria has been holding its Long Night of Museums since 2000, which is organized by the ORF, the country’s state broadcaster. The ticket includes not only the visit to all participating organizations, but also the use of public transport in many cities. On top of that, there are specific routes and shuttle buses in several venues. In total, 647 museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions participate in this year’s event, 112 of those located in Vienna. In Vorarlberg, the country’s westernmost state, the Long Night of Museums does not stop at the border: you can also visit a few museums in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Germany with the same ticket!
The Long Night of Museums in Vienna
Such an extensive and varied program makes it quite hard to decide and plan your evening. In addition to the current exhibitions, there are special guided tours and other activities to choose from. Here are just a few examples: the “Wiener Beschwerdechor“ (aka “Vienna Choir of Complaints”) at the KUNST HAUS WIEN, crash courses in Esperanto and Klingon at the Museum of Esperanto Language, you can throw-paint the VHS Hietzing with paint bombs and canons, or draw on huge sheets of paper while dancing to music over headphones in the mumok. There’s also a lot for kids – the Museum of Natural History and the Möbelmuseum offer quiz rallies, they can write on papyrus at the Papyrus Museum, and the hands-on exhibition at the ZOOM children’s museum is always worth a visit. In total, there are 46 museums in Vienna offering a special program for the youngest, so they don’t get bored during the evening.
Discover unusual museums …
The Long Night of Museums is always a good opportunity to discover the more unusual museums off the beaten track. You could take the shuttle bus 2 to the 17th district and visit the “Schneekugelmuseum,” the museum of rescue services, and the arteum – center for sculpture. Or what about a dark trip to the central cemetery? There you’ll find the Museum of Funerals, which, by the way, has very odd and funny merchandise on sale in their shop. And at the Comdomi Museum you can learn everything about, well, condoms!
… or stay on the safe side
Those who want to see the more formal and traditional museums are best off choosing the foot route. It covers many well-known museums including the Kunsthistorische Museum (Museum of Historical Art), the Albertina, and the Jewish Museum, to name a few. Check out their special guided tours to get the full experience! If you really want to dig into Vienna’s history, check out the various Bezirksmuseen (district museums of Vienna).
Our Partners at the Long Nights of Museums
Some of the partners of Cultural Places are also taking place in the Long Night of Museums! There’s Kunsthaus Graz, Swarovski Crystal Worlds, and many more. If you plan to visit the Vienna Secession, you can already download their audio guides from our website in advance! If you are also looking for a comprehensive overview of exciting exhibitions in Austria in September and October, we recommend our blog post “What’s On in Austria.”
There’s certainly a lot to see, marvel at, and discover in Austria’s manifold museums! To get your bearings, browse the website of the Long Nights of Museum. You can even add your favorites to a personal planer to be ready for Saturday night!