Right to the Museum?

An Austrian Study on Museum Concepts of the Public

and Their Perception

Illustrations: Stefanie Hilgarth

Illustrations: Stefanie Hilgarth

Jubiläumsfonds project (September 2020 – August 2022)
Luise Reitstätter (PI), Anna Frasca-Rath, Karolin Galter, Andrea Mayr

Museums today are in a state of rapid change. Their mission is being discussed and a contemporary version for the 21st century is being sought. The project “Right to the Museum?” aims for a systematic elaboration of museum concepts of the public through a) the analysis of historical museum texts and b) the empirical collection of contemporary museum perceptions.

The project is realized in collaboration with a sample of Austrian museums, ranked according to their date of foundation: MAK – Museum of Applied Arts (*1863), Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien (*1891), Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art (*1885), Austrian Gallery Belvedere (*1903) and House of Austrian History (*2017). At the core of the archive research are textual museum concepts from founding statutes to today's mission statements which are systematically collected and evaluated through source and content analysis. The field research investigates the museum perception from the perspective of citizens via a quantitative preliminary survey, accompanied museum tours and a subsequent qualitative survey with museum diaries and vignette annotations. Following this method combination, the project creates a unique scientific source in order to historically classify current museum developments and provide impulses for a reflective museum practice.

Funded by the Jubiläumsfonds of the Austrian National Bank (No. 18432).