Mai 2014 - Mai 2015

Under the watchwords of war and technology

A theme-based exhibition comprised of seven stations on the First World War

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Bild

Digging up potatoes in front of the Technisches Museum Wien

Due to the shortage of food every available space was used to grow vegetables.
© Technisches Museum Wien

Run: 07.05.2014 - 26.05.2015

 

The exhibition’s central theme is total warfare, a phenomenon that impacted all segments of society. Seven stations explore the relationship between war and the population in general, and war and the Museum in particular.

From the front to the home front

The exhibition’s central theme is total warfare, a phenomenon that impacted all segments of society. Indeed, the outcome of a war waged over many years is decided not just by soldiers, but first and foremost by the production capacities of both agriculture and the arms industry, i.e. what was known as the home front.

The Museum’s role in the First World War

The Technisches Museum was completed at the time war broke out, and its first director, Ludwig Erhard, was keen for his museum to be seen ‘under the watchwords of war and technology’. He wanted it to fulfil a patriotic duty and bolster the population’s support for the war effort. The theme-based exhibition also explores the Museum’s role inasmuch as it received numerous artefacts for its collection either directly or indirectly as a result of warfare.

The war across seven stations

Seven stations explore the relationship between war and the population in general, and war and the Museum in particular.

Front
A piece of heavy ordnance – an icon of the First World War – symbolises the artillery and the atrocities of modern battlefields.

Supplies
This station looks at the subject of transport during the First World War. The absurdity of war is perfectly illustrated by the history of the Salcano railway bridge across the Isonzo river, which was subsequently blown up.

Armaments
The Armaments station refers to the arms industry and its insatiable demand for raw materials, the ever worsening shortage of raw materials, and the measures implemented as part of a patriotic drive to collect metal for the war effort.

Homeland
This station is about the civilian population’s everyday life during the war. With food and essential goods constantly in short supply, people were forced to turn to substitutes.

Propaganda
People’s everyday lives were also shaped by the ubiquitous propaganda, for instance in the censored press. Music also served patriotic duties, whether for soldiers marching or as a distraction.

Army postal service
The army postal service helped to maintain contact between the soldiers on the front and their relatives back home. It too was of course censored.

Telegraph
The telephone, the telegraph and the radio, too, were used on the front for the first time. It meant that vast armies could be marshalled from a distance. It also meant that death was something that happened a long way away.

An interactive media station provides all kinds of historical photo albums for visitors to browse through: from the army postal service to war postcards to all sorts of photographs from the front and photographs of war-disabled veterans trying out their prosthetic limbs. Historical silent films provide an insight into arms factories, bringing a slice of everyday life during the war into the reality of the theme-based exhibition.

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