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Austria: Globe museum

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Globe museum > Austria > Europe

[Visited: June 2011]

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.

Picture of Globe museum (Austria): Terrestrial globe produced in Prague on display in the Globe museum

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.

Picture of Globe museum (Austria): Ships on the Pacific near Central America depicted on an old globe in the museum

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?

Picture of Globe museum (Austria): One of the old globes resting in a wooden frame
Picture of Globe museum (Austria): Detail of a Coronelli globe
Picture of Globe museum (Austria): Two of the old globes on display in the museum
Picture of Globe museum (Austria): Humans and animals in the ocean, depicted on one of the many globes
Picture of Globe museum (Austria): Terrestrial globe on display in the museum
Picture of Globe museum (Austria): Tellurium with candle representing the sun, and moon and earth
Picture of Globe museum (Austria): Celestial globe in close-up in the museum
Picture of Globe museum (Austria): Close-up of Africa, depicted with animals
Picture of Globe museum (Austria): Terrestrial globe in the German language in close-up
Picture of Globe museum (Austria): Close-up of one of the many terrestrial globes in the museum
Picture of Globe museum (Austria): Close-up of the moon on a globe
Picture of Globe museum (Austria): Armillary sphere on display in the Globe Museum
Picture of Globe museum (Austria): Globe made from metal on display in the museum

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