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 Vienna’s Technisches Museum (Technical Museum) is near endless. Which is one reason I get absolutely knackered every time I visit…
- Themed sections introduce various aspects of technology and science
- Vast collection of exhibits, including planes, trains and automobiles
- Top for children, thanks to numerous interactive exhibits and two play areas
- Probably too much to try and do everything in one visit
- Adult tickets €14* or free one-time entry with a Vienna Pass
- Selected current and recent exhibitions:
- See also: Vienna with kids | Technical Museum Highlights
A museum of technology
At the opening in May 1918, one paper described the Technical Museum as “…a treasury of domestic industrial effort” and expressed relief that young people need no longer travel to Munich to study industrial advances.
Today’s museum remains a source of wonder for the young (and old). It 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 the highlights here.
Six things especially impress me…
1. The Depth
Inside the museum is 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 Technical Museum is 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.
(3D projection on the museum façade: an animation produced by AI; photo © Technisches Museum Wien)
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, one on household items addresses cultural biases in advertising.
6. The temporary exhibitions
The major exhibitions at the museum have always proved entertaining and informative in my experience. I particularly enjoyed the Special Effects exhibition, which 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
A few extra tips:
- The great majority of display text is in both German and English
- There are plenty of lockers in the entrance foyer, which take a one euro or two euro coin
- Immediately after the ticket control, turn left for the 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
How to get to the Technical Museum
If you find yourself at Schönbrunn Palace, a ten minute walk takes you up to the Technical Museum.
To travel there direct on public transport:
Subway: it’s another 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 stops at both and 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