Rampley, Prokopovych and Veszprémi, The Museum Age in Austria-Hungary

New book: The Museum Age in Austria-Hungary by Matthew Rampley, Markian Prokopovych and Nóra Veszprémi

The Museum Age in Austria-Hungary: Art and Empire in the Long Nineteenth Century, a new book by Matthew Rampley (CRAACE), Markian Prokopovych (Durham University) and Nóra Veszprémi (CRAACE), has just been published by Penn State University Press.

From the publisher:

‘This important critical study of the history of public art museums in Austria-Hungary explores their place in the wider history of European museums and collecting, their role as public institutions, and their involvement in the complex cultural politics of the Habsburg Empire.

Rampley, Prokopovych and Veszprémi, The Museum Age in Austria-Hungary

Focusing on institutions in Vienna, Cracow, Prague, Zagreb, and Budapest, The Museum Age in Austria-Hungary traces the evolution of museum culture over the long nineteenth century, from the 1784 installation of imperial art collections in the Belvedere Palace (as a gallery open to the public) to the dissolution of Austria-Hungary after the First World War. Drawing on source materials from across the empire, the authors reveal how the rise of museums and display was connected to growing tensions between the efforts of Viennese authorities to promote a cosmopolitan and multinational social, political, and cultural identity, on the one hand, and, on the other, the rights of national groups and cultures to self-expression. They demonstrate the ways in which museum collecting policies, practices of display, and architecture engaged with these political agendas and how museums reflected and enabled shifting forms of civic identity, emerging forms of professional practice, the production of knowledge, and the changing composition of the public sphere.

Original in its approach and sweeping in scope, this fascinating study of the museum age of Austria-Hungary will be welcomed by students and scholars interested in the cultural and art history of Central Europe.’


Table of Contents:

Introduction: Museums and Cultural Politics in the Habsburg World (Matthew Rampley)

Chapter 1:  The Museological Landscape of Austria-Hungary (Matthew Rampley)

Chapter 2: The Museum and the City: Art, Municipal Programs, and Urban Agendas (Markian Prokopovych)

Chapter 3: Visions in Stone: Museums and Their Architecture (Matthew Rampley)

Chapter 4: Curators, Conservators, Scholars: The Rise of the Museum Professions (Nóra Veszprémi)

Chapter 5: ‘Uniques’ and Stories: Principles and Practices of Display (Nóra Veszprémi)

Chapter 6: Museums and Their Publics: Visitors, Societies, and the Press (Markian Prokopovych)

Epilogue: Modernity and Regime’s End (Matthew Rampley)


This study of fine art collections is the second book by Rampley, Prokopovych and Veszprémi on the history of museums in the nineteenth-century Habsburg Empire. The previous volume, Liberalism, Nationalism and Design Reform in the Habsburg Empire: Museums of Design, Industry and the Applied Arts (Routledge, 2020) examined the connections between museums of applied art and contemporary ideas about economic, social and industrial progress.

The Museum Age in Austria-Hungary: Art and Empire in the Long Nineteenth Century is available through the Penn State University Press website here. Take 30% off with the discount code NR21.

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