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Technisches Museum

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At the dawn of the Twentieth Century Vienna was one of the 6 largest cities in the world and was at the forefront of industrial innovation. Inventors such as Siegfried Marcus, designer of the gasoline powered car, and automotive genius Ferdinand Porsche, pushed the boundaries of mechanical engineering, and it is in the Technisches Museum where visitors will find the history of Vienna's technical accomplishments.

Located near the Schonbrunn Palace, the Technisches Museum is housed in a handsome neo-classical building, painted in stark white and decorated with bold Corinthian columns. The idea for the building dates back to 1908, though the museum was not completed and open to the public until as late as 1918, the outbreak of the First World War causing significant disruption to construction. The current building benefits from a modern renovation, with modern tinted glass entrance halls welcoming visitors to a state of the art, rather than stuffy, establishment. In total there is around 22,000 square metres of display space chronicling technological advances from the past to the present.

The museum offers permanent displays relating to a whole host of technical aspects, including the way that technology relates to the natural world and to everyday life, as well as more specific exhibits that deal with the production of energy, heavy industry and transportation. Unsurprisingly for Vienna, surely one of the most musical cities on earth, there is also a dedicated section dealing with music and musical instruments.

One of the more interesting sections in the Technisches Museum is the transport and traffic section, stocked full with items such as a penny farthing bicycle from the 19th century, double-seat tricycles, early Porsche cars, shipwright's scale models, a military bi-plane from the First World War, a Mercedes racing car from the 1950s, DeHavilland jets and even modern search and rescue helicopters.

The energy hall, meanwhile, features Austria's oldest steam engine, dating back to 1826, alongside antique oil wells, hydro-turbines and modern electrical circuitry. The everyday life corner of the museum offers some more modest and quotidian technological relics, such as personal fans, loudspeakers, light bulbs and kitchen appliances. As well as a comprehensive study of the rapid development of household goods in the twentieth century, this is also a great social history, documenting the way Austrians have interacted with consumer products down the years.

Not all displays at the Technisches Museum are concerned with history however. Vienna itself has been titled as one of the most innovative cities in the world today by the Innovation Cities Index, and the museum frequently hosts exhibitions showcasing contemporary technological advances in fields such as digital and electro-magnetic research.

An interactive children's section is also on hand to ensure that the kids don't get bored traipsing the many corridors of this museum. Children get to tackle the physics of a fire engine, create music by simply jumping up and down, and even float in the air. To get them even more involved, parents can arrange guided mini-tours offering the inside track on the permanent exhibits, while activity filled workshops are bound to entertain and inform in equal measure.

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