The History of the NHM Vienna

The history of the Natural History Museum Vienna is shaped by the passion for collecting of renowned monarchs, the endless thirst for knowledge of famous scientists, and the spirit of adventure of travelling researchers.

True to the spirit of the inscription carved into the front of the museum, scientists at the NHM Vienna have over the centuries dedicated themselves and their work “to the realm of nature and its exploration”.

While in the 19th century this was expressed through major imperial research expeditions to little-known corners of the Earth, today it can be found in modern DNA analysis methods and meteorite research providing insights into unfamiliar worlds and the outer extremes of our cosmos.


Whereas the 19th century was above all a time of grand expeditions into uncharted territories in the name of the Austrian emperor, today’s tools are DNA analysis to probe previously unknown biological sequences, or the study of meteorites to investigate the boundaries of the cosmos.