Graz Museum Schlossberg

A new museum for everyone

The GrazMuseum Schlossberg opens the door to the history of the city hill of Graz. Open all year round and partly open-air museum, it is to become the first point of contact for all visitors of the Schlossberg. The GrazMuseum Schlossberg provides visitors with information and orientation with regard to history and topography. This new, family-friendly museum presents the history of the Schlossberg and its significance for Graz in a contemporary way. Together with the GrazMuseum in Sackstraße, the GrazMuseum Schlossberg forms a bracket between the hill and the city.

Our GrazMuseum branch on top of the Schlossberg, which has been conceived by Otto Hochreiter and is curated by Martina Zerovnik and Ingrid Holzschuh, embraces the needs of a strolling public and offers deceleration in tamed nature. The GrazMuseum Schlossberg is fully accessible and offers attractive additional services also for blind and visually impaired people.

Opening weekend: 12. and 13. September 2020

Concept: Otto Hochreiter
Curators: Otto Hochreiter, Ingrid Holzschuh, Martina Zerovnik
Scientific support: Zsuzsa Barbarics-Hermanik, Marlies Raffler, Romedio Schmitz-Esser, Barbara Stelzl-Marx, Georg Tiefengraber
Project management: Sibylle Dienesch
Curatorial assistance: Johanna Fiedler
Arcitecture & Interior Design: studio WG3
Landscape arcitecture: studio Boden
Exhibition design & Graphic: BUERO41A

Arcitecture and design of the Graz Museums Schlossberg

The design by the architecture studio WG3 impresses with its inviting attitude and develops an atmospheric quality of stay in the new GrazMuseum Schlossberg. The foyer area—partly roofed, partly under trees—opens the historic courtyard of the Stable or Cannon Bastion towards the public strolling past: With its modern architectural layer, the ring-shaped paving and planting overcome the historical barrier to the former “barracks yard”.
Although the architectural concept of WG3 refers to the old fortification and defence community of the 16th to 19th centuries, it creates a new, open framework for today’s community of recreation seekers coming to the Schloßberg. In addition, the contemporary exhibition and graphic design of BUERO41A emphasises that the past centuries of the Schlossberg’s history are presented exclusively from a contemporary European perspective.

Garden of Wonders

The “Garden of Wonders”, dominated by shady hornbeams, is the place of arrival at the GrazMuseum Schlossberg. Children can embark on a journey of discovery and explore the stories of the mythical creatures that are at home on the Schlossberg. What is behind the mythical figures of the heraldic panther, the stone dog, the elephant and the lion are hidden wishes, fears and fantasies of their respective times: male claim to power, Hungarian supremacy, Ottoman threat and proud defence of the Schlossberg.

View of Graz

The Cannon Hall of the Stable or Cannon Bastion offers the most beautiful and widest panoramic view of Graz and its environs. In addition, the GrazMuseum Schlossberg can interpret the city historically as a kind of model of the city: On a large, interactive screen, the wheel of time is turned back from key year to key year and one is immersed in the respective historical cityscape. In the “View of Graz”, changes of the cityscape over the centuries can be traced in the fast-forward mode.

Historical Trail

Significant buildings and monuments of the Schlossberg, which you may just have passed by, reappear in the GrazMuseum Schlossberg. On the “Historical Trail” of the former Cannon House, visitors stroll past two dozen such déjà-vu experiences. There the Schlossberg monuments are presented in their historical context with fascinating exhibits. The trail leads from the seat of power and bulwark of the past through Napoleon’s siege of Graz up to the landscape garden and nature and leisure experience of today.

Schlossberg Story

The casemate under the Stable or Cannon Bastion—a gigantic space protected by walls several metres thick—is accessible to people with disabilities for the first time in the GrazMuseum Schlossberg thanks to the installation of a lift. There, inside the bulwark, the audio-visual Schlossberg Story around a spectacular new transparent Schlossberg model illustrates the history of the hill. The multimedia show also provides views into the interior of the mountain with the Turkish Well and the more than six-kilometre-long tunnel system.

Projektchronologie

Oktober 2013: Beauftragung des GrazMuseums durch Stadtrat Gerhard Rüsch zur Erarbeitung einer Konzeptidee für ein neues SchloßbergMuseum

September 2017: Grazer Bürgerin hinterlässt das Stadt 1 Mio. Euro für den Schloßberg

Anfang 2018: Grundsatzentscheidung des Stadtrates Günter Riegler zur Realisierung des SchloßbergMuseums

Mai bis September 2018: Projektkontrolle durch den Stadtrechnungshof

20. September 2018: Gemeinderatsbeschluss zur Realisierung des SchloßbergMuseums

4. Oktober 2018: Auslobung des Realisierungswettbewerbs zur Suche von Architektur- und Gestaltungspartner/-innen

5. Dezember 2018: Preisgericht, Siegler; studio WG3, Graz

Jänner 2019: Abstimmung ASVK und BDA

Jänner bis Juli 2019: Vorbereitung und Ausschreibung der Baumaßnahmen

Ende Juli 2019: Baubeginn

12. und 13. September 2020: Eröffnung

FAQs zum Graz Museum Schlossberg

How large is the new museum? Are all the rooms of the bastion included?

The Graz Museum Schlossberg will cover the entire area including the buildings of the former Stable and Cannon Bastion. The cash desk area with shop as well as an educational and event venue are created in the old kiosk and the Fire Watcher’s House. The Cannon Hall, the Cannon House and the and the casemate below become an exhibition space. And so will the inner courtyard. Only the former “Fuse Tower” is not included in the museum.

Can I visit the Graz Museum Schlossberg free of charge?

Children under 6 years of age can visit the museum free of charge. For all other visitors, a standard charge of 2 euros applies, which includes the entire museum area with its landscaped gardens and buildings.

Why can’t the courtyard be accessed free of charge?

The courtyard and the view of Graz will still be accessible free of charge both two hours before and two hours after museum opening hours. During the opening hours of the museum you have to pay admission. The admission fee is understood as a “protection and preservation fee” for one of the few existing historical ensembles on the Schlossberg that still refer to the time when it was a castle and fortress.

Does the museum only address tourists or also the population of Graz?

The new museum addresses all those who are looking for a place to arrive at the Schlossberg and want to learn something about the history of the Schlossberg, i.e. both residents and visitors of the city. The diverse interests of museum visitors are addressed by means of a range of different exhibition and educational formats. A “Garden of Wonders” with a high recreational quality will be created in the courtyard of the bastion, where visitors can linger, playfully explore the history of the Schlossberg or simply enjoy the view of the city. The “View of Graz” is provided with orientation aids and information in the Cannon Hall. In the Cannon House, visitors can stroll along a “Historical Trail”. In the casemate, i.e. in the “belly of the mountain”, they are offered a multimedia “Schlossberg Story” based on a new Schlossberg model.

What happens to the monuments and commemorative plaques that are located on the grounds and in the rooms of the museum?

The existing monuments and commemorative plaques will be treated as historical layers and part of the Schlossberg narrative. They will be preserved and provided with contemporary information to make the context of their creation comprehensible to visitors.

Is the installation of a lift in the historical walls of the casemate really necessary? In terms of authenticity, wouldn’t it be better not to do so?

The activity of the Graz Museum is guided by the desire for comprehensive inclusion and the greatest possible removal of barriers. The City of Graz has also committed itself to make its new facilities fully accessible for people with disabilities. Without a lift, the casemate would remain inaccessible to wheelchair users, the elderly, people with prams and many other people with reduced mobility. The authentic experience of the casemate is achieved by emphasizing the spatial dimension and structure and guiding visitors through the space.

Why does the lift have to go into the casemate at exactly the same place where the staircase with the parapet of terracotta figures is located today?

In preliminary studies and in the competition, the location of the lift was investigated and the current positioning was found to be the only possibility due to the natural, architectural and structural parameters (development through rock). At this point, there is already a fault field in the historical building structure in the vault, which makes it most sensible in terms of preserving the historical substance to install the lift precisely at this location. Moreover, the dismantling of the staircase is not a demolition, but the preservation of the terracotta figures. As these had been used as balusters for a massive handrail since 1936, as a result of the touristic development of the casemate, improper interventions have caused damage so that they are in urgent need of restoration.

What happens to the terracotta figures?

The terracotta figures are professionally dismantled and examined by a conservator on behalf of the Graz Museum in coordination with and under supervision of the Federal Monuments Authority Austria. Subsequently, they are to be restored and exhibited in the new museum.

Will original exhibits also be on display or will audiovisual media be used as a priority?

The design of different exhibition formats aims at the use of multifaceted and diverse methods of communication. There will be interactive, playfully mechanical elements as well as audiovisual media installations. New models are being created that not only serve the purpose of illustration and “tangibility”, but also fulfil the desire for accessibility. The “Historical Trail” will consist to a large extent of original historical objects. After all, the Collections of the Graz Museum hold a large number of authentic, impressive and also surprising testimonies to the history of the Schlossberg.