‘German industriousness, German spirit, German energy and German persistence’: Habsburg Cultural Politics and the Moravian Design Museum

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Galleries and museums were key to the development of the public sphere in nineteenthcentury
Europe and America; museums of design and applied arts had an additional
mission, namely, to promote economic competitiveness by improving the quality of design.
This story is well known in relation to museums in London, Vienna, Berlin, and Paris.
But what role did museums outside of the capital cities play? This article analyzes the
growth of museums of design in Bohemia and Moravia in the late nineteenth century,
focusing on the Moravian Design Museum in Brno. It considers what happened when
ideas about museums and their public purposes encountered the forces of municipal politics.
Rudolf Eitelberger (1817–1885) founded the Austrian Museum for Art and Industry
in Vienna as a means of disseminating a shared idea of aesthetic and cultural value, but
how successful was this idea in gaining acceptance outside of Vienna?


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-229
Number of pages29
JournalWest 86th
Issue number2
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Austria-Hungary, Museums, Design, Prague, Vienna, Brno, Eitelberger, Semper, Nationalism, Cultural Policy