Spring has been “auf Urlaub” (on holiday) here for the past few days–rain, wind and cool temperatures have done their part to discourage me from going out and exploring anything more than the grocery. But even I need a change from two days of cooking my little heart out (Chocolate cake! Chicken and spinach lasagna with roasted pepper cream sauce! Oxtail Pot au Feu!); so, dressed and with supplies to build an emergency Ark in my tote, a-museum going I went.
The WeltMuseum (World Museum) houses a fantastic collection of treasures on non-European peoples, in the equally fantastic NeueBurg Palace. Many of the treasures were collected over the Hapsburg reign, including those featured in the exhibit I visited today. Franz Ferdinand, heir presumptive, began a world tour in 1892 to advance the ethnological collections of the Empire and a great many of his treasures were on display. Unlike the rest of us, I presume he did not have to concern himself with excess baggage fees. As history goes, Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914, triggering the onset of The Great War.
I found the exhibit to be extremely well done, with interesting (!) brochures describing each the dozen or so cases of ethnological tchotchke.
Like a Hindi Hummel collection, the figurines from Ferdinand’s visit to Jaipur.
But more so than to the “stuff,” I was drawn to his collection of travel papers. We, too, collect the simple trifles from our travels, all of which I have nicely organized in pH-appropriate notebooks, should someone someday care abut our Japan Rail Passes or the take-away menu from one of our favorite seafood shacks on Cape Cod. 

 Plus, I am just in love with beautiful handwriting.

 Travel guide books that you actually want to display.

Having time before meeting my favorite son for lunch, I recalled another (alleged) WWI-related exhibit at a relatively unknown museum nearby.  The title was, “The Dignity of Man,” and it was a co-production with Vienna, Sarajevo, and Brno. Sounded promising. I was expecting something that actually had something to do with WWI. What do I know?

The exhibit was dreadful. This is the pretty arcade I escaped the rain from in order to reach the gallery.

“The Dignity of Man.” This is an “ArtAttack” representation of WWI.

 I have no clue what this was about, but I am pretty sure it isn’t WWI.

 Anyone?

Thankfully I could soon escape to the Styrian Gasthaus where I was to meet Jack. The decorated rooms were warm and welcoming, and my Steirmark Backhendlsalat with a Styrian wine quickly helped to restore “The Dignity of Man.”