Wien Museum

Lonely Planet review

The Wien Museum presents a fascinating romp through Vienna's history, from Neolithic times to the mid-20th century, putting the city and its personalities in a meaningful context. Exhibits are spread over three floors, including spaces for two temporary exhibitions.

The ground floor gets off to an impressive start, tracing the history of the city from 5600 BC to the late Middle Ages. Standouts include medieval helms with bizarre ornamentations, Celtic gold coins and artefacts from the Roman military camp of Vindobona. The real attention-grabber, though, is the jewel-like stained glass and sculpture retrieved Stephansdom post-WWII bombing. Of particular note are the 14th-century Fürstenfiguren , the princely figures salvaged from the cathedral's west facade.

The 1st floor takes a brisk trot through the Renaissance and baroque eras and has a fascinating model of the city in its medieval heyday. Both Turkish sieges are well represented.

Top billing goes to the 2nd floor, however, which zooms in on Vienna's fin-de-siécle artistic heyday. On show is the intact modernist living room Adolf Loos designed for his nearby apartment in 1903, replete with mahogany and marble, alongside stellar Secessionist works such as Klimt's mythology-inspired, gold-encrusted Pallas Athene (1898) and Egon Schiele's Young Mother (1914).