New: Geology Hall at the Natural History Museum presents “The Earth. A dynamic planet”

23. February 2023
When the NHM’s former Imperial Hall was reopened on 21 February 2023, the limelight was on the Earth as a dynamic planet. Open to visitors as of now, the new Geology Hall features an exhibition designed by the architectural firm Schuberth und Schuberth. It focuses on the structure and composition of the Earth as well as the beginning of the Anthropocene and illustrates that everything could have gone quite differently!
“If you think geology is merely about boring rocks, you will be intrigued by the new exhibition at the NHM Vienna, which comprises many hands-on objects and demonstrates how comprehensively the earth sciences are trying to understand the processes on our planet. The displays span a huge range from the Earth’s structure to the Anthropocene – the age in which humans began to emerge as a geological factor,” noted Univ. Prof. Dr. Mathias Harzhauser, Head of the Geological-Palaeontological Department of the NHM Vienna, in his opening address.

Dr. Katrin Vohland, CEO and Director General of the NHM Vienna, expressed her enthusiasm about the Gesamtkunstwerk that is the museum: “With its original furnishings, the Imperial Hall is one of the most beautiful and impressive halls in the museum. I greatly enjoy the paintings and, most of all, the caryatids, the figures along the cornice – including volatile air or deadly mercury – which are now much more prominent. Artists were also involved in designing the current display – the weightless rocks, the alternative habitats.”

Mag. Jürgen Meindl, Head of the Arts and Culture Division at the Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, Public Service and Sport: “Thus museum is a vibrant scientific community, committed to catering to people of all ages. And that is precisely what it should be able to remain, even in times of crisis. Even in its founding years this institution was committed to the ideas of the Enlightenment, and it still is today. We should not forget, however, that even in this context science was sometimes headed in abysmal directions. And anyone who believes that geology does not have an eminently political side to it only needs to watch the debates of religious fundamentalists in the USA and elsewhere.
The narrative for which we are providing evidence in this hall extends over millions of years, not just six days.”
The opening also featured the premiere of a composition celebrating astronomical cycles by Rupert Huber.

The prominent guests of honour included Prof. Patrick Mouguiama Daouda, Minister of Science of Gabon, Prof. Virginie Laval and Prof. Dr. Abder El Abani from the University of Poitiers (France), Dr. Thomas Wiersberg from the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP), Prof. Alfred Ngomanda, Commissaire Général du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (CENAREST), Dr. Gilbert Camoin, Director of the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD), Dr Malgo Bednarz from the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling, Aix-en-Provance (France), Dr Ralf Schuster, Geosphere Austria as well as the artist Hannes Ludescher and Dr Nikolas Heep from the University of Applied Arts.

The NHM Vienna conveyed heartfelt thanks to the Republic of Austria, which made the redesign of the hall possible, and expressed the wish that an understanding of the major geological relationships will help preserve the beauty of planet Earth, our common home.

Exhibition opening
Von links nach rechts:
Dr. Thomas Wiersberg (International Continental Scientific Drilling Program, ICDP), DI Gregor Schuberth (Architekt), Prof. Virginie Laval (President of the University of Poitiers, France), Prof. Patrick Mouguiama Daouda (Gabonese Minister of Research and High Education), Prof. Abder El Abani, University Poitiers, France), Dr. Katrin Vohland (Generaldirektorin des NHM Wien), Univ. Prof. Dr. Mathias Harzhauser (Leiter der geologisch-paläontologischen Abteilung des NHM Wien), Prof. Alfred Ngomanda (Commissaire Général du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique, CENAREST), Dr. Gilbert Camoin (Director of the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling, ECORD), Johannes Ludescher (Künstler "Fliegende Steine")

(c) APA/Godany/NHM