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Presenting the Romans Presenting the Romans
Interpreting the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site

9 - A Roman Museum for Vienna

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2013

Michaela Kronberger
Affiliation:
Austrial Archaeological Institute
Nigel Mills
Affiliation:
Director, World Heritage and Access, The Hadrian's Wall Trust
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Summary

Introduction

Until very recently, Vienna's best preserved Roman remains were difficult for visitors to find. The roman ruins, as this Wien Museum site was called, are six feet below ground, directly underneath the Hoher Markt square. The remains were discovered in 1948 during work on the city sewers and comprise remnants of officers' houses. Two inconspicuous city council signs pointed the way through a restaurant to reach stairs that led down to the excavations.

Despite poor signage, approximately 15,000 visitors found their way to the museum each year. An outing to the museum is a fixed date in the schedule for Vienna's schools whenever it comes to the romans' turn in the curriculum. However, access around the remains was so narrow that a modern approach to presenting the remains of Roman Vindobona was impossible. For pupils and teachers, who account for more than half of all visitors, the absence of any visitor infrastructure (especially toilets) was a major inconvenience. Acknowledgment of this problem was a catalyst for the train of events that led to the opening of a new Roman Museum in early May 2008.

When it became known in spring 2007 that the premises above the excavations would be available to let, the Wien Museum management team seized the opportunity to modify the building and implement a state-of-the-art museum concept. Families, those interested in Vienna's history and tourists were all identified, alongside school children, as key target audiences.

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Presenting the Romans
Interpreting the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site
, pp. 85 - 92
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2013

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