Sigmund Freud Museum

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SIGMUND FREUD MUSEUM

In 1971 in Vienna, with Anna Freud present at inaugural ceremonies, the Sigmund Freud Museum opened in Berggasse 19, the apartment house where Freud had lived and worked from 1891 until 1938. Originally the museum consisted of the rooms on the first floor (second floor in American usage) that housed Freud's office; it subsequently expanded to include Anna Freud's consulting room and the family apartment, which opened to the public in 1996. The Sigmund Freud Museum, managed by the Sigmund Freud Foundation, is private. It shares the bulk of Freud's legacy with the Freud Museum in London and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Visitors enter the museum through the entrance hall of the family's private apartment. In the lobby that leads to Freud's office, the original wood paneling with bast covering has been preserved; several of Freud's belongings are on display and his diplomas hang on the wall.

Freud's patients and visitors entered his consulting room from the waiting room, which was restored in accordance with the memories of Anna Freud and Paula Fichti, the Freud's housekeeper. Furnishings, donated by Anna Freud, comprise a wooden table, three armchairs and a dark red couch. Objects from her father's collection of antiquities are also displayed in a glass case, a selection that offers a sampling of Freud's taste and his passion for archeology. Some bookcases have been replaced by pictures from Freud's scientific career.

Patients entered Freud's offices through soundproof padded double doors; his consulting room opened onto a separate study. On the walls, photomontages by Edmund Engelman, taken in 1938, show the way the rooms were furnished just before Freud left Austria. Beginning in the consulting room and continuing through the study, documents and memorabilia line the walls. Showcases include more items from Freud's collection of antiquities; first editions of his books and offprints, some signed by him; handwritten inscriptions; and various other documents and personal memorabilia. Photographs provide a visual and chronological account of the founder of the psychoanalysis from his birth and early childhood in Freiberg through his decades in Vienna and the final months of his life in London. Freud's education, his cultural milieu and personal relationships throughout his career are highlighted; scenes from his private life, which Freud attempted to keep strictly apart from his professional life, are also on view.

In a media room located in an adjoining room, formerly the kitchen, a documentary film, Freud 1930-1939, features a commentary by Anna Freud, who helped produce it just prior to her death. It includes footage of Freud from 1930 to 1939 in Vienna, Paris, and London with family, friends, and close collaborators. The original print of the film remains at the Anna Freud Center in London; the museum has exclusive rights to its use in continental Europe. Another film, by Philip R. Lehrman and Lynne Lehrman Weiner, Sigmund Freud. His Family and Colleagues, 1928-1947, finished in 1985, is also shown at the museum.

Anna Freud's consulting room, dedicated in her memory, opened in November 1992 on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of her death; furniture from the Freud family private apartments and part of Anna Freud's library are on view. A multipurpose room (three former bedrooms) has been appointed for exhibitions and lectures. A library, which opened in the museum in 1991, has holdings of over 30,000 items, the largest collection of its kind in Europe.

In 1996, the Sigmund Freud Museum celebrated its twenty-fifth year; on this occasion, the new exhibition room and lecture hall were inaugurated. Together with the exhibition and lecture rooms they provide suitable spaces for temporary exhibitions. In 2002, a show called "Freud's Lost Neighbors" was put on; it showed the history of the residents of the house at Berggasse 19 from 1939 to the present. The Foundation for the Arts, Sigmund Freud Museum Vienna, a collection of contemporary art, has been on display in the exhibition rooms since 1997; the theme is the relationship between psychoanalysis and artistic production. In 2003, the Museum opened another exhibition space on the ground floor, with a display window facing the street. This is used for the mounting of art installations.

Ingrid Scholz-Strasser

See also: Austria; Berggasse 19, Wien IX.