From domestic designs to global living: Imperial innovations at the Austrian Museum of Art and Industry, 1864-1914

Sabrina Rahman

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The Austrian Museum of Art and Industry, the first of its kind on the European continent, gave equal status to domestic crafts from the provinces and the cosmopolitan luxuries of the Habsburg dynasty. The museum was thus assigned the task of forging a cohesive imperial identity, becoming the tool with which Austria-Hungary could assert itself as an effective imperial power, both locally and globally. By considering three significant exhibitions in the first 50 years of the museum’s history — the Vienna World’s Fair in 1873, the exhibition of Austrian Cottage Industry and Folk Art in 1905, and the exhibition that accompanied the 9th International Housing Conference in 1910 — this article investigates Austria’s transition from the classic model of mid-nineteenth-century imperialism to a uniquely pan-regional empire focused on notions of domesticity and cultural preservation, turning ultimately to the Socialist concerns that would form the basis of the post-imperial Austrian state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-104
JournalMuseum History Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

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