Universalmuseum Joanneum

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Austria's first public museum

The Joanneum was founded in 1811 by Archduke Johann in the spirit of the Enlightenment as Austria's first public museum in order to "spread intellectual education", "stimulate the thirst for knowledge" and "facilitate learning". More than 200 years later, this mission is still valid, even though the world and the Joanneum have changed fundamentally since 1811.

19 museums at 14 locations

Today, the Joanneum is one of the largest universal museums in Europe and has over 20 collections. Four other departments perform central "service functions" for museum operations and for visitors to the Universalmuseum Joanneum. More than 4.9 million collection objects form the basis for a wide-ranging exhibition and event program, which is presented in 14 locations in Graz as well as in Trautenfels, Stainz, Premstätten, Alpl, Krieglach, Stübing and Wagna. A zoo, Tierwelt Herberstein in Stubenberg am See, has also been part of the Group since 2022.


The collections of the Universalmuseum Joanneum represent a period of several million years and are presented as part of inspiring and informative permanent and special exhibitions as well as in-depth events. The diversity of topics and areas of knowledge also enables unusual and interdisciplinary approaches to complex issues. Overall, the Universalmuseum Joanneum attaches great importance to an audience-oriented and contemporary form of presentation, whereby the main focus is on the optimal interaction of the various locations and collections, which in their diversity shape the unique character of the Joanneum.

A place of science and research

In its first decades, the Joanneum was a teaching and research institute with a focus on natural sciences and technology; the associated collections were used for both study and museum presentation. The Joanneum's address was the "Lesliehof" in Graz's Raubergasse, to which a large botanical garden, the "Joanneum Garden", was also attached until the 1880s. Archduke Johann succeeded in attracting important scientists to the Joanneum: The mineralogist Friedrich Mohs developed the hardness scale for minerals named after him at the Joanneum, and Franz Xaver Unger, the "father of paleobotany", and Nikola Tesla - the inventor of alternating current - also researched and taught in Graz. In 1864, the Joanneum was awarded the status of an "Imperial and Royal Technical University". Between 1878 and 1887, the university was spun off (from 1975: Graz University of Technology) and the collections were transformed into the Joanneum State Museum. Over the course of the 19th century, other important scientific and cultural institutions emerged from the Joanneum, such as the Montanuniversitat Leoben, the Steiermärkische Landesarchiv and the Steiermärkische Landesbibliothek.

From museum to universal museum

In 2003, the decision was made to transform the Landesmuseum Joanneum, which had previously been closely tied to the Styrian provincial administration, into a non-profit limited company. Under the management of Peter Pakesch (artistic director until autumn 2015) and Wolfgang Muchitsch (scientific director), a comprehensive modernization process was initiated in the same year, which reached its preliminary climax in 2011 - on the 200th anniversary of the Joanneum, which has been called the "Universalmuseum Joanneum" since 2009: With the opening of the Joanneum Quarter, the historic museum and library buildings Raubergasse, Neutorgasse and Kalchberggasse were brought together to form a functional and architectural unit that is connected via an underground visitor center.

The Joanneum Quarter, which also sets a strong urban accent in the old town of Graz, is one of the largest cultural centers in Austria and is the location of the Neue Galerie Graz with the BRUSEUM, the Natural History Museum, the CoSA - Center of Science Activities and the Styrian State Library.

From 2018 to 2023, Wolfgang Muchitsch (Scientific Director) and Alexia Getzinger (Commercial Director) headed the Universalmuseum Joanneum. Marko Mele has been Scientific Director since January 1, 2023 and Josef Schrammel has been Commercial Director of the Universalmuseum Joanneum since April 1, 2023.

In 2023, the Universalmuseum Joanneum recorded more than 1.1 million visitors.