Natural History Museum Vienna

The Natural History Museum (NHM), with its well over 20 million collector’s items, is one of the largest museums in the world. Besides specimens of flora and fauna, minerals, rock samples, fossils, etc., it collects preserves and researches data and objects relating to anthropology, prehistory, ecology and the history of science and makes them accessible to the general public. Ceremonially opened in 1889 by Emperor Franz Josef I, the Natural History Museum is situated directly on the Ringstrasse (Burgring). The core of the collections is based on the famous collection of naturalia belonging to the Florentine Chevalier Jean de Baillon, 30,000 items, purchased by Emperor Franz I Stefan around 1750. Among the highlights of the many famous and unique exhibits to be seen in the tour of 39 galleries are the bouquet of jewels given by Maria Theresa to her consort on his name day, or the Venus of Willendorf, 25,000 years old. But visitors can also get a glimpse “backstage”, where special exhibitions show selected aspects of the Habsburg collections, for instance the microscope slides collected by Ferdinand the “Good” in the department containing the archives for the history of science. Mammal Collection, 1st Zoological Department The exhibition collection of the Natural History Museum presents more than 450 exhibits from the mammal collection in seven galleries. They are arranged systematically to provide an overview of the world of mammals. The “backstage” department has a further 1500 or so dermoplastics, also narwhale and other diverse tusks and antlers kept in special storage rooms or cabinets. The oldest of them date from the time before 1806. The scientific collection furthermore includes skulls, often also skeletons, furs and skins of more than 70,000 individual specimens. The library of the mammal collection is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10.15 am to 12.15 pm. Telephone appointments are requested. The holdings are reserved for scientific research and only available by previous appointment. Archives for the History of Science The department is structured into five collections: archives relating to the Natural History Museum; the left papers, correspondence and autographed collection; pictorial collection; historic photographs and glass-plate negatives; material sources. Publications on the department inventory: “Die Grüne Welt der Habsburger“; “Novara - Das Vermächtnis” (2010); “Schätze des Archivs” (2009); “C.Riedl-Dorn: Das Haus der Wunder. Zur Geschichte des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien”


Natural History Museum Vienna
Burgring 7
1010 Vienna
Fax: + 43-1-523 52 54
+ 43-1-521 77 - 0


Opening hours: 

Thursday to Monday: 9am – 6.30 pm; Wednesday 9 am – 9 pm; Closed Tuesdays