In my mind, the image of the Globe Museum in Vienna had developed into a collection of old globes in an attic with creaky wooden floors, open just one hour a day: a romantic memory of a visit on a winter day in 2001. When I happened to be in Vienna for a couple of hours, without a place to store my luggage, the memory suddenly popped up in my mind. Since I did not remember the location by heart, I asked advice in a museum next to the Stephansdom. The guy behind the counter was friendly enough to have a look on the Internet; it turned out to be a mere 10 minute walk away, and it was open. There was a nagging doubt about the location: I thought it was somewhere else. The doubts were confirmed when I stood in front of the building: the Globe Museum definitely moved to a new address, in the Palais Mollard, which it shares with the Esperanto Museum. To my surprise, it even offered free use of lockers. After I bought my ticket, I eagerly went upstairs: I only had limited time and wanted to use it wisely.
Soon enough, I got caught in the display of beautiful old globes. I felt like a child surrounded by an abundance of sweets: an overkill of delightful examples of globes seemed to be begging for my attention all at the same time. Apart from the different location and extended opening hours, the light conditions of the Palais Mollard were much better than the previous location. All can be found inside glass displays, and I soon found my eyes running all the visible parts of the globes. On most, apart from the representation of lands and oceans, there would be drawings, carefully written names; on some, richly decorated dedications with angels and mermaids. I saw very small globes, and those measuring over a metre. I saw metal ones, and others that looked very heavy, resting in a strong wooden frame. While walking the museum, I noticed not only that the corridors had beautiful painted ceilings, but also that one thing had not changed: also in this new address, the floors were still creaking.
The bulk of the collection is the terrestrial globes, but there are many other types of globes as well. The celestial ones, representing the stellar systems are also common, and, in my opinion, can easily be called works of art. Then, there were heliocentric and geocentric armillaries, old inflatable globes, and more complicated instruments like telluria which allowed teachers to explain the movement of the earth around the sun, and the moon around the earth. In the latter case, the sun is represented by a candle, making for a fantastic small constellation. When I had seen all the globes, I just started all over again, running from one globe to the other, and back. Unlike the child in the candy store, who gets sick after a while, my appetite for globes was only increasing. In the end, I could only imagine having one of these precious globes at home. One has to keep on dreaming, right?
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Globe museum (Austria). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Globe museum. Read more about this site.