From tavern to museum

The history of the Liechtenstein NationalMuseum

To prevent Liechtenstein’s cultural assets from being sold abroad, the National Administrator (head of government) Friedrich Stellwag von Carion (1852-1896) planned the creation of a museum in the late 19th century.
Prince Johann II of Liechtenstein (1840-1929) made rooms in Vaduz Castle available for this purpose so that the collection could be presented to the public.

In 1901 the Historical Society for the Principality of Liechtenstein was founded, which was responsible for looking after and developing the collection from 1910/11.

Due to the reconstruction of the castle until 1914, the collection moved to various buildings in Vaduz, including the government building and, from 1940, the town hall. Be-tween 1929 and 1940, rooms at Vaduz Castle were again used to exhibit the collection.

From 1954, the collection was on display in the newly built National Bank - for the first time under the name "National Museum".

The present-day Liechtenstein NationalMuseum: the Stately Tavern (left) and the Administrator’s House. Detail from an anonymous pencil drawing. Around 1850

View inside the first exhibition room of the "Princely State Museum" at Vaduz Castle. Around 1900

View of one of the museum's exhibition rooms on the premises of the Liechtenstein National Bank in Vaduz, where the collection was displayed from 1954 until 1967.

In 1967, the state purchased the Taverne zum Adler in Vaduz and converted this former tavern for the purposes of the National Museum.

The new National Museum building was opened on 15.4.1972, and the Liechtenstein NationalMuseum Foundation was established by law on 9.5.1972. In accordance with this law, the collections went on permanent loan to the National Museum (contractually agreed in 1989).

This building, the former Stately Tavern and old government building, was home to the Liechtenstein NationalMuseum from 1972. This photo shows it before the renovation work of 1968-70.

View of one of the exhibition rooms at the Liechtenstein NationalMuseum opened in 1972.

In 1991, the newly built storage facility on the Messinastrasse road in Triesen was opened. Today it is shared with the Liechtenstein Museum of Fine Art, the Archaeology Department of the Office of Culture and the natural history collection of the Office for the Environment.

Construction work on a neighbouring plot of land led to massive damage to the National Museum building in 1992, which subsequent-ly had to be closed for safety reasons.

In 1994, the Liechtenstein FarmhouseMuseum in Schellenberg was opened in a building known as the "Biedermann-Haus" built in 1518 and incorporated into the
Liechtenstein NationalMuseum Foundation.

In 1999 the renovation and expansion of the National Museum began. This resulted in the museum incorporating three buildings, includ-ing the former office and residence of the administrator (Administrator’s House) as well as a new building set into the mountainside.
The extended, three-part National Museum was opened on 28.11.2003. It houses a permanent exhibition on cultural history and natural history as well as hosting special exhibitions.

The Liechtenstein PostalMuseum, originally created in 1930, was incorporated into the Liechtenstein NationalMuseum Foundation in 2006. It houses every postage stamp issued by Liechtenstein.

The Liechtenstein TreasureChamber was opened in 2015 – as the fourth museum of the Liechtenstein NationalMuseum Foundation. In 2016, the Treasure Chamber was nominated by the European Museum Forum, along with a small number of other museums, for the European Museum of the Year award. 

In 2018, the Liechtenstein PostalMuseum was extensively renovated. It made the leap into the digital age by, for example, creating an online stamp catalogue. In 2019, the Liechtenstein PostalMuseum was nominated for the European Museum of the Year award by the European Museum Forum, along with a small number of other museums.

In 2019, the IndustryWorld Liechtenstein was created as part of the permanent exhibition at the National Museum. It showcases the past and present of Liechtenstein’s industry and the country's leading industrial enterprises.

View of the Liechtenstein TreasureChamber

View of the Liechtenstein PostalMuseum

"IndustryWorld Liechtenstein", exhibition opened in 2019 on industry in Liechtenstein. Combining history and modernity, it uses Deep Frame technology to provide a holographic 3D view of the work of various industrial companies based in Liechtenstein.