Related links
Commission for Provenance Research
Art Database of the National Fund

Provenance research

Provenance research examines the origins of exhibits from individual collection areas and checks whether they were unlawfully taken from their original owners during the Nazi era.

The inventory of exhibits held by the Technisches Museum Wien is based on state-owned and private collections that have been presented to what was then the Technical Museum for Trade and Industry since its founding. Over the years the Museum’s inventories were added to following the incorporation of the then Austrian Post Office and Telegraph Museum and the Historical Museum of Austrian Railways. The inventories of the Österreichische Mediathek followed in 2001.

Following the implementation of the 1998 Art Restitution Act the Technisches Museum’s inventories are being combed through for exhibits which came into the Museum’s ownership as a result of Nazi rule. Thousands of exhibits, books and archived records have already been checked with regard to their origin. It is not just the acquisitions made during the period 1933 to 1945 that are under examination. Acquisitions made after 1945 are also included as it cannot be ruled out that the Technisches Museum acquired looted objects at a later date.

To date, 14 dossiers comprising several hundred exhibits have been handed over to the Art Restitution Advisory Committee. In each and every case the Committee has recommended restitution to the original owners. The Technisches Museum has also passed on information on 28 exhibits acquired in the art market during the Nazi era to the Austrian National Fund for Victims of National Socialism for publication in the art database. The Museum hopes that publication will yield further details of the original owners of these exhibits.

The Technisches Museum endeavours to ensure that the heirs to the exhibits can be found as quickly as possible so the exhibits can be restituted. It is assisted in these efforts by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture, the Commission for Provenance Research, and the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien [Vienna Israelite Community].
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