Vienna has a rich spectrum of museums, be they big or small, old or new, famous or not so famous. And also the spectrum they deal with is far from small; so, you can find all sorts of art museums in town, as well as a chocolate museum, a museum for peace, one for forgeries, one for the Roman history in town, one that deals with theatre, another dealing with death, and one that deals with the literary history of Austria.
The Literaturmuseum is situated in the Grillparzerhaus in the first district, not far from the Opera, and it belongs to the Austrian National Library. The building was once where the archives of the Austrian Monarchy were situated, and over which Franz Grillparzer (a famous Austrian writer) reigned. The job, which actually was him dealing with the receipts of the monarchs, gave him enough time to work on his own texts for which he collected a certain amount of fame (enough that they named his old workplace after him).
But, back to the museum, it deals on three floors with the literary history of Austria. The first two floors dealing permanently with the history from the 18th century up until now, and the third floor with certain topics that are of special interest. At the moment the topic would be the “Central Figures of Viennese Modernism”, which is also the name of the exhibit. It centers it self around the figures of Alban Berg, a composer of operas; Ludwig Wittgenstein, a philosopher and member of a family of art patrons; and Berta Zuckerkandl, who hosted many salons and was influential both in art and politics.
One of the special qualities of the exhibit and the whole museums is the multimedial and multifaceted approach to the exhibited topics. So, for example, you will encounter in the exhibition on Viennese Modernism: text fragments, photographs, paintings, a live feed from the stock exchange; and also a map which explains, how the three were linked and to who else they were connected. Another special feature of the museum are the shelves. They divide the rooms into smaller spaces, house the various exhibition items, and are the same shelves over which Grillparzer ruled back in the day.
So, if you’re a fan of literature then maybe you should visit it the next time you are in between books. Maybe it will give you a hint on what to read next ;).