History of the Museum Carnuntinum

More about the exhibition

Exhibition Objective
The Museum Carnuntinum was established to bring together the finds of Carnuntum in one place. It was thus the first excavation museum in the German-speaking world. In the course of the reorganization, the primary goal is therefore to do justice to this founding idea and, apart from thematic special exhibitions, to interpret and present the latest research results on Carnuntum in a concentrated form and with the help of impressive exhibits from the Provincial Collections of Lower Austria.

City structure
For the first time, the results of more than 150 years of scientific research have been combined in an interactive city map of ancient Carnuntum, which allows the presentation of both the settlement history and the settlement structure down to the level of a city quarter.

Metropolis on the Danube Limes
However, the exhibition also aims to create an understanding of how the Roman metropolis functioned and how people lived in it. The starting point are the military installations that formed an essential part of the border security system "Danube Limes" and were the backbone for the settlement development of Carnuntum. Helmets, face masks, silver dagger scabbards and a completely preserved cornu (military signal instrument) are just some of the highlights in this part of the exhibition.

Under the protection of the military, a flourishing metropolis developed in which many citizens enjoyed a lavish lifestyle and whose self-confidence was also expressed in elaborate public buildings. Original finds of architectural fragments, furnishing details such as wall paintings and floor coverings, or pipelines bear witness to a lively city life.

People in Carnuntum
Carnuntum was also the city of the emperors. Again and again world history was written from Carnuntum. In addition, numerous citizens made it to considerable wealth. A treasure chamber shows luxury goods of the Carnuntine upper class, such as jewelry, glass and marble sculptures.

In order to understand the way of life of the people, the exhibition therefore also deals with the beliefs and the Roman heaven of gods. Closely related to this are also the ideas of the afterlife and the funerary rituals associated with it.

The creation of the exhibition

Dismantling "The Eagle of Rome", redesign and construction "World City on the Danube Limes

Here in the first video you can see how the exhibits and showcases of the old exhibition "The Eagle of Rome" are brought back to the depot and the interiors of the museum again take on the original character of a Roman country villa. Connoisseurs will also notice that the museum looks much brighter as a result.


In this video you can see in fast forward the final redesign and construction of the current exhibition.


History of the Museum Carnuntinum

The Carnuntinum Museum is a must for every visit to Carnuntum. It was built by Friedrich Ohmann and August Kirstein, two of the most respected architects of the late Austro-Hungarian Empire, and opened in 1904 by Emperor Franz Josef I himself. Built in the spirit of historicism in the style of a Roman country villa, the design takes up typical architectural elements from the Roman provinces. The Museum Carnuntinum thus fits seamlessly into the circle of large museum buildings on Vienna's Ringstrasse.

The construction of the museum was financed by the Society of Friends of Carnuntum from private funds. Among the sponsors and donors at that time were important representatives of the imperial family, the nobility, the upper middle classes, science and business. With the construction of the museum, the Society of Friends of Carnuntum pursued the goal of bringing together in one place the extensive collection from the first excavations in Carnuntum. The Museum Carnuntinum is thus the first excavation museum in Austria and today displays a large part of the provincial collections of Lower Austria on ancient Carnuntum.


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