Collection and research

Collection activities and research work

Collecting is one of the core tasks of a museum. By preserving items that bear witness to the cultural past and present, future generations can meet and engage with their ancestors and learn about the history of their country. Visitors from abroad receive an insight into Liechtenstein's past and present. 

“Where the Ill Meets the Rhine” by Johann Ludwig (Louis) Bleuler (1792–1850). Gouache over etching, ca. 1820/30. 

Gold coin with a denomination of 20 Swiss francs. Issued in 1930 to mark the crowning of Prince Franz I of Liechtenstein (1853–1938) in 1929. Punchcutter: Ludwig Hujer (1872–1968). Minted in: Bern. The obverse shows a bust of the Prince dressed in clothing of the Order of the Knight of Saint John with the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece worn to the right, while the reverse depicts the crowned coat of arms of the Liechtenstein House / Principality of Liechtenstein between laurel branches.

Letter with Vaduz stamp mark dated 29 February 1916 and the first ever postage stamps issued by Liechtenstein in 1912. Design: Koloman Moser. Engraving: Ferdinand Schirnböck. The letter contains two of the first three stamps issued by Liechtenstein in 1912, namely twenty 25 Heller stamps and one 5 Heller stamp

The Liechtenstein NationalMuseum is one of the most important institutions in the Principality of Liechtenstein when it comes to preserving the national culture and has a state mandate to collect items. Indeed, the history of the Liechtenstein NationalMuseum begins with collecting. In 1893, Friedrich Stellwag von Carion, the then National Administrator (head of government), began collecting on behalf of the state in order to create the basis for a planned museum.

Egg with paintings of Vaduz Castle, Liechtenstein Castle (in Mödling near Vienna) and – on the back –Liechtenstein’s national coat of arms. Enlarged swan‘s egg painted with tempera. Eleonore Winkler, 1986.

Cupboard from Appenzell. One-door, three-part cabinet made of solid softwood, painted. Hinges, knob on shield as well as shield for keyhole made of brass plate. The paintings are by Conrad Stark (1769-1817) and show, among other things, the village of Gonten in Appenzell Innerrhoden and a couple in the traditional Appenzell costume of the time. Made in 1806. The cabinet was acquired by Egon Rheinberger (1870-1936) and served as part of the furnishings of Gutenberg Castle.

Map of the Principality of Liechtenstein by Johann Sebastian Gerster (1833-1918). Paper, colour lithograph, 1894. This was the first colour-printed map with Liechtenstein in the centre. It was used, among other things, in school lessons.

Thanks to its long history of collecting and its multidisciplinary nature, the Liechtenstein NationalMuseum today has a diverse and unique collection covering a wide range of areas. It documents the history, art, culture, customs, industry, nature, environment and philately of the country plus its relations with its neighbours and other countries. Exhibits come from both Liechtenstein and abroad. Some objects have no direct connection to the Principality of Liechtenstein but instead illustrate an historical connection to the Princely House. The collection also has a number of items sold or donated to the museum by a significant person with links to Liechtenstein.

Pewter jug bearing the symbol of the town of Chur and the hallmark of the master craftsman Mathaeus Bauer II. (1751–1804). Made in 1789.

Large box nativity scene. Wood, glass, cardboard, wax, corn straw, fabrics, decorative ribbon, papers, gold foil, glitter, metal wire, straw, artificial plants, plastic animals. From a church in Bregenzerwald, around 1850. The scene depicts the visit of the Three Wise Men to the Holy Family in the manger in Bethlehem.