On June 18, 1998 the Town Museum of Klosterneuburg was opened in the "Kulturzentrum Steinhäusl " after a mere eighteen-month construction period.
The history of the museum as an institution, however, goes back to the turn of the 19th and 20th century, when first efforts to establish a town museum were made. Nevertheless, it was not before 1931 that the original collection was presented on the premises of Klosterneuburg Savings Bank. The initiative came from Oberbaurat (building inspector) Hans Huber. In 1940 rooms at Leopoldstraße 3, which today house the archive of the town, were used as a museum. As a result of the incorporation of Klosterneuburg into Vienna in October 1938, the museum was closed in 1942 and the objects were taken to Vienna Town Museum. After the end of World War II it still took a very long time, until all artefacts of the collection including objects of the Museum of Viticulture, were given back either to the museum or the archive of Klosterneuburg. Finally, on November 3rd, 1974 the museum could be opened in the Rostockvilla after many years of hard voluntary work of Dr. Max Wellner and his wife Dir. Elisabeth Wellner. When Dir. Elisabeth Wellner unexpectedly died in 1990, the museum was closed again. During the following years the Rostockvilla was used to store the museum collection that had greatly increased in the course of the years.
In October 1992, the District Council decided to buy a property at Kardinal Piffl Square 8 from the Province of Lower Austria. Plans for a new archive
emerged. The rooms on the first floor were intended for the use of the local music school.
The Department of the Protection of Historical Monuments carried out exploratory archaeological excavations. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Johannes W. Neugebauer headed a team of archaeologists. During the various archaeological excavations a hitherto unknown part of a Roman village was discovered: with foundation walls of houses as well as some cellars, well shafts and bronze and clay kitchenware. However, the highlight of the excavation was the discovery of a medieval building with a wine cellar, which had belonged to the monastery of Passau (Germany). In the former chapel of the building 1238 tiles decorated with figural motifs were found. Because of its number and the good condition the find was celebrated as a European sensation. So the District Council decided to build a new town-museum centring around the archaeological find.
The medieval wine-cellar and 225 of the tiles were integrated in the building and were at the centre of attention of the first exhibition of the museum: "About the Court of Passau – From the Roman Village to the Medieval Building with the Wine Cellar. " In 2003 the exposition "Excavations in the Centre of Klosterneuburg – Research and Results from 1999 to 2002" followed. From 2008 on a comprehensive exposition about the history of Klosterneuburg has been shown. In addition to the current permanent exhibition, alternating exhibitions about artistic work, history or folklore as well as exhibitions of contemporary artists of Klosterneuburg are presented.
(Above) The town museum in the house Leopoldstraße 3, 1941 (photo: AStKl)
(Below) Opening of the town museum in the Rostockvilla on November the 3rd 1974, with Dir. Elisabeth Wellner (in front on the right), Dr. Hermine Bauer und Mrs. Edith Specht (on the left behind E. Wellner) (photo: H. Zwazl)
The collection of the town museum includes objects concerning the history of Klosterneuburg and its surrounding villages (the oldest finds are from Roman times) and a constantly growing art collection with the main emphasis on folkloric objects.