While there aren’t too many cities in the world that can rival the selection of priceless art housed in all of Vienna’s art museums, one of the more memorable museums doesn’t have a single original piece of art in any of its halls — the Fälschermuseum, or Museum of Art Fakes. Adorning these halls are some of the most famous fakes in the world, verifiable works of art in the world of forgery. Whether it’s the most famous painting Vermeer never actually painted or the certifiable diaries of Hitler not actually written by Hitler, the only thing more interesting than the pieces are the “artist’s” storied careers.
While it may not make top billing of Vienna’s historic offerings, thanks to storied palaces and revolutionary art, the selection at Vienna’s Natural History Museum is historic in itself — it feels like the life’s work of an 18th-century globe-trotting naturalist. With each room more beautiful than the last, the ornate carved ceilings and warm wooden floors sandwich between them endless rows of glass cases containing taxidermized specimens. The initial sense of macabre gives way to raw curiosity quite quickly: Where else can you gawk close up at tigers, polar bears, elephants, walruses, the world’s largest meteorite exhibit and a life-size animatronic model of a young allosaurus from the Jurassic period? Nowhere else in Vienna anyway.
The former home and office of the late, great Dr. Sigmund Freud houses an impressive array of his legacy: papers, antiques, personal items and more all tie together to reconstruct what his impact was on modern society. While the psychological community currently considers his theories to be mostly inaccurate, it’s still interesting to see the 35,000 volumes of psychoanalytic research in the accompanying library.
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