The World of the Habsburgs – a virtual exhibition by the Schönbrunn Group

The World of the Habsburgs – a virtual exhibition by the Schönbrunn Group

The World of the Habsburgs (WoH) will not only bring you face to face with the famous representatives of this ruling family and the places, sites and buildings associated with them, but also reveal to you exhibits and texts that concern political history and general social developments, as well as the changes in economic and cultural life.

We present a very colourful picture of the World of the Habsburgs from the thirteenth to the early twentieth century that goes far beyond the previous text-based and media presentation forms of virtual historical exhibitions.

WoH links the exhibits through themes and topics, bringing, as in a real exhibition area, storylines, objects and texts together. The topics are spread broadly and can cover a number of decades or even centuries.

Each of the themes consists of a number of separate, mostly self-contained chapters or modules around one or more exhibits. In total, you can study over 500 chapter modules on around 100 topics and view around 1400 illustrations and exhibits.

Despite this huge collection of images and texts, WoH is not intended to create a Habsburg Wikipedia or encyclopaedia, nor a new online Austria Lexicon. Our aim is to create a virtual exhibition designed along content-based points of access and topics with an innovative user interface that will hopefully make this excursion into history a pleasure.

Our target is a broad international and national public:

•    Austrian and international tourists can here discover the famous Habsburgs and their age, find out about the historical background or immerse themselves in the age, and are thus encouraged to visit real locations, places, museums from the World of the Habsburgs.

•    A ‘general exhibition public’ that is interested in the history of the Habsburgs or of Austria will find here a broad insight into the political, economic, social and cultural history of the Habsburg monarchy.

•    Schoolchildren and students who visit the WoH within the framework of their classes or studies will find here a mass of useful information and images together with exciting stories.

We have also designed the textual and media presentation correspondingly broadly. The WoH contains basic academic information alongside more journalistic and lighter texts, each addressing a heterogeneous public in their own way.

The WoH is available in German and English with free access on the Internet.

Online visitors can follow the contents of the exhibition using persons, a genealogical table, maps, locations and above all thematic pathways. The objects are linked with one another, with the result that the user is led from one theme to the next. However, it is also possible to navigate intuitively through the WoH.

It is also planned to add new exhibits after the opening of the exhibition, and to link the exhibition with real exhibitions.

Such a project can only be handled in a team. At this point, we would like to thank Schloss Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H. for entrusting us with this project, and all those involved, above all the team of academics whose creative ideas, inspiring texts and in part difficult searches for images and objects made this virtual exhibition possible in the first place.

Prof. Franz X. Eder

Prof. Karl Vocelka

(May 2010)