On the rainy morning of the 6th of August, I and my family travelled to Vienna for a specific purpose – to visit its famous Natural History Museum (in German Naturhistorisches Museum Wien) and to spend hours in its historical premises. In this short article, I will introduce you to the museum with a focus on meteorites.

Museum is located in Vienna’s historical centre, surrounded by historical buildings and gardens. It looks across the Marien-Theresien-Platz and through the sitting Maria Theresia to its architectural mirror twin – Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum).

When we arrived and bought the tickets, which is possible also online and then you do not have to wait in the somewhat long line of people during busy days like weekends, we get rid of the jackets and brollies to go through the museum comfortably. Then we started the tour through this huge 2-floor building with 19 large halls. The first halls are full of minerals, a magnificent collection, indeed. Please, have a look at the following photos which are a fraction of what you will see in the first 4 halls.

After quite some time, because minerals and chemical elements are immensely interesting, we came to hall number 5, which should be the hall for all meteorite lovers. It is full of science and specimen of meteors you will probably not see anywhere in such a huge collection. Explanation of each type of meteor, impact craters, impact glass and much more. There are huge ones, small ones, rarities, the ones with the pedigree or the ones just found somewhere. They came from all over the world and off Earth. You can find Mars and Lunar meteorites there as well. And you can see with your own eyes the Lunar soil borrowed by NASA. There are some huge ones you can even touch. And if this is not enough then you can observe the meteors by the live radio meteor station there too.

We spent in this hall at least one hour and then we moved to the next ones – History of Earth and fossils. The others on this floor are dinosaurs, prehistory and anthropology halls. The second floor is dedicated to life on earth and all the animals, prehistoric ones including, you can think, for example, reptiles, birds, mammals, microcosmos, corals, crabs or arachnids. And that is just a fraction of what you can explore.

And if you think you will get from the museum without a mineral, stone or a real meteorite, then do not go to the shop on the ground floor! I did not resist the temptation and bought my first meteorite from the museum’s stock!

In case you are in Vienna and you are free for half a day or even a day, then this museum is highly recommended for you. It is loaded with science, history, nature and what you need to see by yourself. All the information can be found on its website including selling tickets Naturhistorisches Museum Wien Official Webpage, actual prices and opening hours. At the time of writing this article were children and youth under 19 years free of charge. The good thing is that almost everything is in the English language as well. My tip at the end of the article is to avoid weekends, especially rainy ones as there will probably be masses of science-eager people.

Radim Stano