Exploring the invisible

Microbes as masters of disguise

What does a virus do in the museum? Hygiene technology and bacteriology have been an important part of the medical engineering collection of the Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Museum of Science and Technology) for a long time. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been increased public focus on microorganisms, showing that the history of microbes needs to be rethought.
Three different formats provided insights into the world of our invisible companions at the Technisches Museum Wien:

Mobile exhibition Eight stations on virology (level 2)

The mobile exhibition as part of a virology focus in November 2023 was dedicated to viruses that can affect or even destroy human life. How society deals with them was examined in a historical, medical, technical and social context featuring seven selected types of viruses: smallpox, HPV, influenza, HIV, tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), Hepatitis C and coronavirus. A basic understanding of virology was communicated based on questions such as: What are viruses? How do they spread and how do they interact with the immune system? By building on this knowledge, pharmaceutical strategies, working methods, successes and challenges could be illustrated and discussed.

Expansion of the permanent exhibition Everyday life (level 3)

The permanent exhibition explores the question of how we humans have responded to the discovery of microorganisms that populate not only our whole world, but also our own bodies. The realisation that microbes can have both deadly and beneficial effects has sparked extensive research activity, which, then as now, is strongly influenced by medical technology developments. The new exhibition area also addresses the fact that some of the reactions to this discovery go far into the realm of superstition.

WorkshopTracking down virus

Both the mobile and the permanent exhibition areas provided the foundation for school workshops on the occasion of the virology focus in November 2023, including a hands-on experience where pharmacological techniques were explained and applied. Pupils were learning the basics of infection prevention in a playful way while using fluorescent lotion to make viral infection chains visible.

Current exhibitions
Teenagers & Adults