History

The history of the museum

The Vienna Furniture Museum today represents a singular combination of storeroom, workshop, administrative body and museum that is unique in the world. 'Depository' in this context means the renovation, upkeep and administration of the holdings that are now accessible to the public in the new museum. The former 'lumber-room of the monarchy' has over the centuries become one of the most important collections of furniture in the world.
 

The Travelling Court and Maria Theresa

The institution of the imperial court furniture depository dates back to the 18th century. In 1747 Maria Theresa appointed the first Court Furnishing Inspector, who was responsible for the care, inventarisation and transport of imperial furniture.

The institution of the imperial court furniture depository dates back to the 18th century. In 1747 Maria Theresa appointed the first Court Furnishing Inspector, who was responsible for the care, inventarisation and transport of imperial furniture.

The most important task of the Court Furnishings Inspectors was organising the transport of furniture. The Viennese court moved its residence several times a year. In winter it resided at the Hofburg, followed by the "Sejour" (sojourn) at Schönbrunn and Laxenburg, with interludes for hunting, for example at Schloss Hof. These residences were not permanently furnished until the early 19th century and so the furnishings required by the imperial household had to move with the court.

On special occasions such as the coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor at Frankfurt or the coronation of the Bohemian and Hungarian king at Prague and Budapest, the required ceremonial trappings and the drapery of the throne formed part of the monarch´s baggage train. There were even special folding chairs that could be fitted with precious covers to suit the occasion.

Mariahilfer Straße Nr. 88

In 1901 Emperor Franz Joseph commissionend a central storage facility at Mariahilfer Strasse No. 88 for the state holdings of furniture. In 1924 a number of display rooms were furnished and opened to the public. In 1998, after a period of refurbishment, the Imperial Furniture Collection opened its doors again as a modern museum.

Further Reading