Ride a cable car, perch in a train driver’s cab, sit in a TV studio, play with electricity…the list of interactive experiences at the Technisches Museum (Vienna Museum of Science and Technology) is near endless.
Which is one reason I get absolutely knackered every time I visit…
- Themed sections on various aspects of technology and science
- Vast collection of exhibits, including planes, trains and automobiles
- Top for children, thanks to the interactive elements and play areas
- Plenty of English display text
- Selected current exhibitions:
- See also:
Museum of science & technology
At the opening in May 1918, one paper described the Technisches Museum as “…a treasury of domestic industrial effort” and expressed relief that young people need no longer travel to Munich to study industrial advances.
You’ll be pleased to learn that the displays have changed over the years. But today’s museum still remains a source of wonder for the young (and old).
A visit takes you through about a dozen self-contained areas, each dealing with a particular topic. Examples include the principles of physics, transport, energy production, heavy industry, communication, work, and household technology.
Think of it as a testament to human scientific and industrial endeavour: a museum of progress.
Each of those sections typically features both historical and modern items, with text, audio and video explaining developments through time and/or the role played by particular technologies in today’s world.
I’ve listed my personal highlights here.
Six things especially impress me…
1. The Depth
The museum contains a universe of possibilities, with more exhibits, displays, and experiences than you can fit in a black hole. Almost too much (we’ll come back to that issue later).
2. The Interactivity
Dozens of hands-on displays let you experience and explore technological principles, processes, and histories in a more memorable manner.
For example, you might spin planets along the curvature of space, “ride” a cable car, sit in a wheelchair simulator, or send a message by morse code.
3. The kid-friendly exhibits
The Technisches Museum remains one of Vienna’s best places for entertaining the kids. Many of the interactive experiences specifically target children, plus two large play areas help burn away the energy of the youngest family members.
4. The Sensitivity
The explanations and excitement around the technology sit alongside an awareness of the associated social responsibility.
So the museum talks about recycling of plastics, environmental impacts of energy production, how technology helped totalitarian regimes spread their propaganda, and similar themes.
Posters throughout the museum highlight the work of women scientists and help redress the imbalance in our understanding of historical gender roles in technological progress.
5. The humanity
Finally, the displays cover (of course) the technological aspects of a particular theme, but often explore the human element, too. So an exhibition on work also looks at the impact of stress, while one on household items addresses cultural biases in advertising.
(3D projection on the museum façade: an animation produced by AI; photo © Technisches Museum Wien)
6. The special exhibitions
The temporary exhibitions at the museum always prove entertaining and informative in my experience. I’ve enjoyed all the recent ones, including 2022/2023’s BioInspiration and past ones like AI, Foodprints and Special Effects (the latter appealed to the popcorn-holding starry-eyed child in me).
All this excellence comes at a price…tired feet and minds.
With so much to see, poke, press, and read, a visit can be rather overwhelming. So it perhaps makes more sense to focus your time only on those sections that interest you most.
Alternatively, do a quick run through to admire some of the more spectacular exhibits and then narrow your interests down by topic.
Tickets & visitor tips
Any entrance ticket includes all the special exhibitions, too.
(Booking service provided by Tiqets.com*, who I am an affiliate of)
A few tips:
- Those under 19 go in free
- The great majority of displays contain both German and English text
- The entrance foyer has plenty of coin-operated lockers
- Immediately after the ticket control, turn left for a museum shop full of puzzles, little science kits, small toys and all you might expect from a museum of technology
- The museum café and restaurant has a self-service area, too, where you can buy drinks and snacks quickly without waiting for service
- Visit the building after dusk for an extra surprise: 3D projections on 720 m2 of the museum’s façade
- A Vienna Pass (my review) also gets you one-time free entry
How to get to the Technisches Museum
To travel there direct on public transport:
Subway: it’s a ten minute walk from Schönbrunn station (on the U4 line) or a slightly longer one from Johnstraße station (on the U3 line)
Tram/bus: two tram stops more or less flank the museum…Penzinger Straße and Winckelmannstraße. The 60 tram line is a good bet, since it leaves from a major railway and subway station (Westbahnhof). The 10A bus stops at Linzer Straße/Johnstraße, which is close to the museum.
Address: Mariahilfer Straße 212, 1140 Vienna | Website