About the Joanneum
In 1811, Archduke Johann of Austria (1782-1859) and the estates of Styria jointly set up the Joanneum as an ‘inner Austrian national museum’. Archduke Johann, brother of the Austrian emperor Franz I, was a wholehearted supporter of the educational ideals of the Enlightenment, and expected this first public museum of Austria to be set up as a comprehensive collection of the things that ‘nature, the changing times, human industry and perseverance have created that teachers of the various public institutions instil into the enquiring minds of their pupils. It must bring these things to life and thereby make learning easier [and] stimulate a thirst for knowledge.’
Nature – alongside technology, history and folk life – was a great passion of the Habsburg archduke, who was extremely popular in Styria because of his extensive efforts to promote the common good. Thus, in accordance with his principal interests, the Joanneum was, initially, first and foremost an educational institution oriented towards natural history and technology.
Leading natural philosophers of the 19th century such as Friedrich Mohs (who developed the Mohs scale of mineral hardness in Graz) and Franz Xaver Unger (one of the pioneers of palaeobotany) taught at the Joanneum, which in 1864 gained the status of Imperial (k.k.) Technical College. Reorganized in 1975 as the Archduke Johann University of Technology in Graz with five faculties, the educational side was thereafter separated both geographically and organizationally from the museum collections, which had been combined in a unified Styrian Museum back in 1887. In the following years, the collections were moved to the Lesliehof, a former aristocratic palazzo at no. 10 Raubergasse. Also part of the reorganized museum was the Styrian Estates’ Drawing Academy – originally set up by engraver Johann Veit Kauperz (1741-1815) – and its collection of art. It was – like the Joanneum’s collections – originally an ancillary collection used for teaching purposes. This ‘Styrian Picture Gallery’ was greatly expanded in the 19th century after a great number of high-quality works of art were given by generous patrons.
Despite the first 19th-century reorganization, more space was needed soon after, and between 1890 and 1895 a new museum building designed by August Gunolt in a Viennese Baroque Revival style was constructed in Neutorgasse, in the immediate vicinity of the Lesliehof. This imposing building was home to the Museum of Cultural History, Arts and Crafts, which included items relating to mediaeval art. The Styrian Picture Gallery also moved to this new address. In 1941, the Gallery was subdivided, with separate departments for art up to about 1800 (Alte Galerie) and more modern art (Neue Galerie).
Over the 20th century, further collections were added to the Joanneum, so that now the Joanneum Universal Museum has nine buildings of historic interest available for its collections, plus buildings of high-quality contemporary architecture.
The Joanneum Universal Museum is considered the biggest of its kind in Central Europe. About 4,5 million items in the collections form the basis of a richly faceted ‘universal’ exhibition and events schedule. A programme of exhibitions and events at ten locations throughout Styria transmit a unique panorama of science, art and culture.
Organisationally, the Joanneum is divided into 10 museum departments:
Geosciences (Head: Dr. Bernd Moser)
Biosciences (Head: Mag. Wolfgang Paill)
Archaeology & Coin Cabinet (Head: Mag. Karl Peitler)
Schloss Eggenberg & Alte Galerie (Head: Dr. Barbara Kaiser)
Schloss Eggenberg and park
Modern and contemporary art (Head: Dr. Peter Peer)
Neue Galerie Graz
Outdoor art (Head: Dr. Elisabeth Fiedler)
Art in public space
Cultural history (Head: Dr. Eva Marko)
Museum im Palais
Everyday culture (Head: Mag. Elke Murlasits)
Folk life Museum
Schloss Stainz (Head: Mag. Karlheinz Wirnsberger)
Schloss Trautenfels (Head: Mag. Katharina Krenn)
In addition to the museum departments, there are four other departments with support functions.
Support services (Head: MMag. Markus Enzinger, Prokurist)
Bookkeeping and accounts
Building services and maintenance
IT & communications
External relations (Head: Dr. Andreas Schnitzler, Prokurist)
Visitor services (Head: DI Markus Rieser)
Education and appreciation
Museum services (Head: Mag. Silvia Millonig)
The Joanneum Universal Museum, which attracts annually more than 500,000 visitors, employs around 500 staff in carrying out its various functions.
Apart from scientific periodicals, exhibition catalogues and annual reports, the Museum publishes a series of books about its collections. Information folders, newsletters, social media and a monthly programme brochure round off the informative publications available.
The winner of the Council of Europe’s Museums Prize, the Joanneum Universal Museum is the most important scientific and cultural institution in Styria. During the 19th century, various distinguished institutions such as the University of Leoben, the Archduke Johann University of Technology in Graz, the Styrian State Archives and Styrian State Library sprang from the Joanneum.
The operating company
Since the collections were owned from the first by the government of Styria, the Joanneum was for a long time in the hands of the state administration. In 2003, after thorough consideration, it was transformed in a not-for-profit limited company called Universalmuseum Joanneum GmbH, to maintain competitiveness within the international museum industry.
The operating company is run jointly by Peter Pakesch as intendant and artistic director and Dr. Wolfgang Muchitsch as scientific director. To promote the global network of the company and especially to ensure a high-quality exhibition programme at the Kunsthaus Graz, partnerships with national and international museums and cultural institutions are proactively sought. The exhibition policy is to present all aspects of the permanent collections in a contemporary manner attractive to the public. A principal focus of attention is therefore to ensure that the various locations of the Museum work together as effectively as possible, and in doing so underline the unique character of the Universal Museum in all its diversity.
With the establishment of the Joanneum as a not-for-profit limited company, the Universal Museum has gained a greater degree of responsibility and autonomy in matters of staffing and budget. Nonetheless, the federal state of Styria is still the owner of the property and other assets in the Museum, just as intended by its founder Archduke Johann.
|Company and legal status:||Universalmuseum Joanneum GmbH|
|Registered office:||Mariahilferstrasse 2-4, 8020 Graz|
|Company registration no.:||230017 k|
|Company register jurisdiction:||Landesgericht für Zivilrechtssachen, Graz|
|VAT no.:||ATU 56 45 65 79|