New Museum for the Vienna Prater

Lifestyle & TravelMore+ ♦ Published: October 30, 2022; 19:11 ♦ (Vindobona)

Construction work has begun on May First Street. A sustainable wooden building, the Prater Museum, will be built there by 2024. The museum, which will do justice to the presentation of the more than 250-year history of the Viennese amusement park, will be one of the first public wooden buildings in Vienna and a model for the integration of ecological and social sustainability.

The groundbreaking ceremony of the Prater Museum was attended by the District Head of Vienna Leopoldstadt Alexander Nikolai (l.), City Councillor for Culture Veronica Kaup-Hasler (m.) and Wien Museum Director Matti Bunzl (r.), among others. / Picture: © Magistrat der Stadt Wien / PID / David Bohmann

After decades on the outskirts, hidden in a side wing of the Planetarium, the Prater Museum will move to the center of the "Wurstelprater". A new museum is being built on the former site of an amusement arcade on the Straße des Ersten Mai, which the Vienna City Government envisions will do justice to the more than 250-year history of Vienna's amusement park, the Wiener Prater.

The Wurstelprater

The "Wurstelprater" is an internationally known amusement park in Vienna, Austria. Hardly any amusement park has been as much a part of the city's identity as the "Wurstelprater". It is already mentioned in documents from 1825 as Volksprater.

The Wurstelprater is probably the best-known part of the Vienna Prater, a recreational area and the largest park or green space in the city. The Wurstelprater is home to numerous amusement parks and attractions, including ghost trains, merry-go-rounds, wave rides, roller coasters, mirrors, laughing booths, autodromes, drop towers and many other family-friendly attractions. Besides, you can find some slot machine gambling halls and other gambling establishments.

The Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel is also located in the Prater and is probably one of the most famous sights and landmarks of Vienna. It was built in 1897 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the throne of Emperor Franz Joseph I and was one of the largest Ferris wheels in the world at the time.

In the fall of 1948, significant parts of the soon-to-be world-famous feature film The Third Man were filmed in the Prater. The Prater was also the site of the 1873 World's Fair, as well as many other historical events, significant for Vienna, Austria and sometimes the world.

The New Prater Museum

"The history of the Prater is an important and still living part of Vienna's urban and cultural history," emphasizes Vienna's City Councillor for Culture Veronica Kaup-Hasler.

The Prater Museum, therefore, represents this important contribution to the local history of entertainment culture and Vienna's urban history. "To do justice to this significance, the treasures of the Prater Museum will soon receive greater visibility at a new location in the heart of the Wurstelprater," Kaup-Hasler explained, visibly delighted.

On an area of about 200 m², the new permanent exhibition will deal with topics and aspects of the present and history of this special Viennese institution based on central objects of the Prater collection.

The construction of the new Prater Museum according to the design of architect Michael Wallraff will be carried out by the construction companies Granit-Bau and Prameshuber Holzbau. Representatives of the Prater families were also present: it is also thanks to their initiative that a new, modern Prater Museum is now being realized.

Architect Michael Wallraff is responsible for the modern exhibition architecture in wooden construction, he has succeeded in combining functionality and sustainability as well as responding to the local conditions: The silhouette of the museum keeps the view of the Giant Ferris Wheel unobstructed and, thanks to its height and striking roof shape, forms a kind of landmark amid the Prater scenery. From the balcony on the second floor, visitors can enjoy a view over the Prater.

The new Prater Museum also sees itself as a place of encounter and open space. The 110 m² foyer, which can be used for events, is open to the public.

In the new museum, the narrative of the Prater is launched in the spacious foyer with a large panoramic image of the amusement park. From here, a staircase leads to the two exhibition levels above.

The opening of the new Prater Museum is planned for spring 2024. The previous Prater Museum in the Planetarium will remain open up to and including Sunday, May 28, 2023. After that, the exhibits will be restored for the new museum.

Vienna Museum