Long Night of the Museum.

The first Long Night launched in the newly reunited Berlin in 1997 and the concept has since spread across Europe, Argentina, and the Philippines; Vienna marked its 18th annual occurrence this weekend.  One ticket allows visitors access all evening to as many museums as time and interest permits, many of which are either rarely open or open only for group tours; and Saturday’s weather was just right for an evening of museum-hopping.

Close to home, we began with a tour of the Kattus Sektkellerei, one of the two former royal and imperial suppliers. Begun in 1857 by Johannes Kattus, the company is now headed by Sophie Kattus, a fifth generation family member.

Samples and snacks, and the ever changing lights in the party room kept the groups happy until the next tour of the production facilities could begin. We learned that Kattus still hand-turns most of their 70.000 bottle stock of Sekt!

Our next choice was the Natural History Museum for its new exhibits on “Cats and Dogs” and glass underwater sea creatures. Like its mirror image across the square, the Art History Museum, the building itself warrants a visit.

The highlight of the “Cats and Dogs” exhibit was the Ice Mummies of Siberia, four puppies that had been buried in a landslide more than 12.000 years ago and were perfectly preserved in the permafrost. The preserved dogs were loaned to the exhibit by the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Just as we walked into the gallery with the glass sea creatures, though, the lights dimmed for a 3-D live presentation of mealworms on the big screen. A little weird, so we left after a couple of minutes of watching the wriggling worms.

Even though we had planned our route, time had to be set aside to refuel, and so it was Vienna’s  Wurstlstands to the rescue. Quite the queue at the Oper Wiener Wurstlstand, but their Bratwurst is worth the wait.

Out last museum for the evening is the little known Austrian Pharmacists and Chemists Museum, now in its 125th year. On display were the lovingly created books of nature prints for the World’s Fair in 1855, along with old Pharmacists equipment; an incredible 6.000 herbal sample collection; and even a traveler’s homeopathic “First Aid” kit.

Culture, food, and another beautiful evening in Vienna.


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