Two more "Neue Burg" Museums, Vienna:
Arms Collections & Old Instruments

Hofjagd- & Rüstkammer: Court Hunting & Arms Chamber

This museum is an utterly impressive collection of arms, arms and more arms - dating from the 15th to the 17th century with a core of late Medieval and Renaissance armour. For housing a collection that could be easily boring after the first few thousands of arms, the museum does a very good job in teaching visitors about technical innovations in warfare and how they influenced the design of arms. The seed for the collection came from Duke Ernst, who ruled Austria around 1400.

Legendary Emperor: Maximilian I

Another focus lies on weapons from the time of the legendary Emperor Maximilian I, which includes representative armour that was good for checking out the girls, but not suitable for combat. The "Rathausmann", Vienna′s odd mascot on the top of the Town Hall, was inspired by Maximilian′s costume armour. Another big collector in the Habsburg family was Ferdinand II of Tyrol. For his arms collection in Schloss Ambras near Innsbruck, he gathered a vast array of exquisitely crafted shields, helmets and weapons - including the "Adlergarnitur" (Eagle Armour) for himself.

Thanks to Viennese centralism, the collection was removed from its original site in Tyrol and incorporated into the Hofjagd- and Rüstkammer. Other items include Oriental loot from the Turkish wars and a famous "rose petal garniture" show armour made for Emperor Maximilian II and his two sons in the 16th century. You don′t have to like historical arms to enjoy this collection - there are museums a lot less impressive in the Hofburg, so I recommend keeping this one in mind at least as a rainy-day-option.

Sammlung Alter Musikinstrumente:
Collection of Ancient Musical Instruments

Similar to the arms collection, a fair share of the Collection of Ancient Musical Instruments was accumulated by Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol, one of the great collector of the Renaissance. Many of the most bizarre oddities in this museum are not suitable for actually playing them.

Liked fancy instruments: Empress Maria Theresia

There is a set of 16th century shawms that are shaped like dragons, an elaborately decorated clavicytherium and a violin that was made from the shells of a tortoise and owned by Empress Maria Theresia. Somewhere between a gallery dedicated to Joseph Haydn and his days, the glass harmonica invented by Benjamin Franklin or the crystal flute every visitor will realise two things: The whole music thing in Austria is not just made up for the tourists, but deeply rooted in the local culture; and that this museum is one of the most neglected and most charming museums in Europe.

I will not go through the many other interesting items on display, but leave it will you to explore it yourself. Only that much: Even somebody totally failing to use any musical instrument at all (like me) just has to enjoy a visit to the Sammlung.

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Other Parts of the Hofburg

Hofburg Introduction - Albertina - Kaiserappartements - Schatzkammer Treasury - Neue Burg Gardens & Heldenplatz - Museums of Ethnology & Ephesos  - National Library - Augustinerkirche - Spanish Riding School - Burgkapelle & Vienna Boys' Choir - Arms Collection & Old Instruments

Further Reading

Official website of the Vienna Tourist Information

Sub-Museums of the Kunsthistorisches

Information on the Museum of Arms and Armour