Wednesday, January 30, 2013

28.1.2013 Vienna War History Museum


It was snowing this morning! We got a small breakfast this morning and headed to meet Dr. Moser to go to the War History Museum. It was a very interesting experience, not so much because of what we learned about war history in Austria but because of how the museum was set up and what we learned about how they teach about their own history and the Holocaust. We've discovered by going to a few museums that Austrians don't really know how to teach about Jewish traditions, lifestyle, or the Holocaust. Instead of putting up information along with displays, their main form of displaying information is to put up a lot of pictures, names, or items (such as an entire display cases of Torah scroll decorations) with a very short description in German about what the items are. Some of the descriptions even say things as short as "Scroll decorations" which is a little surprising to me because it seems to me that if people are going to a museum they are going with the intention of learning something from their trip not just to see a display case of things that they may not know the purpose or significance of. Something that was interesting and helpful was that at the beginning of each section there was a rack of sheets that had some information about the most important pieces in each room.
Although it was difficult to actually learn a whole lot from this museum it was still really interesting to see some of the things that are significant to the Austrians. For example one of the rooms we went into was designated to Archduke Franz Ferdinand and more importantly his assassination. They had the uniform that he was wearing when he was shot, the couch that he died on, and the car that he was assassinated in. There was very little written information on these items but it was obvious how significant this event was since they dedicated a room in the museum to it.
Once we were done at the museum we all split up to get lunch and do our own thing for the day.
After dinner Steph, Morgan, Elliot, and I went ice-skating. The area in front of the City Hall of Vienna was turned into an incredible ice-skating rink. There were two main rinks but there were also pathways that went in between trees that connected the two rinks. It was so amazing and really, really pretty.
Once we were done ice-skating we stopped to get a pastry and then headed back for a relaxing night at the hotel.

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