History of the museum

The origins of the Liechtenstein National Museum date back to the end of the 19th century, when the head of the government, Friedrich Stellwag von Carion (1852-1896), planned to create a museum in Vaduz Castle. Stellwag von Carion‘s aim at the time was to prevent Liechtenstein’s cultural assets being sold abroad. He received support from Prince Johann II von Liechtenstein (1840-1929), who provided space in Vaduz Castle to exhibit the collection of objects to the public – Vaduz Castle was not used as the residence of the Princely Family until 1938. From around 1910 onwards the Historical Association of the Principality of Liechtenstein, which was created in 1901, assumed responsibility for maintaining and extending the collection.

 
 

Comprehensive renovation work carried out at Vaduz Castle from 1904 until 1914 forced the museum to relocate. The next few decades saw the collection lead a nomadic existence, going on display in a number of buildings in Vaduz, including the seat of the government and the town hall.

 

 

From 1954 until 1967 the Historical Association showed the collection with the title ‘National Museum’ on the top floor of the newly constructed headquarters of the Liechtensteinische Landesbank in Vaduz.


  
In 1967 the state purchased the building in Vaduz formerly known as the ‘Taverne zum Adler’ (‘Eagle Inn’) and converted the premises to house the collection. On 15 April 1972 the Liechtenstein National Museum was opened. In the same year the Historical Association’s responsibility for the National Museum ended, with its function being assumed by the Liechtenstein National Museum Trust created in May 1972. A long-term loan (set out in a written contract in 1989) was established between the Historical Association and the Trust.

The museum was closed between 1992 and 2003 after construction work to extend the Landesbank opposite had caused serious damage to the building. Following a period of renovation and extension from 1999 until 2003, it reopened to the public on 28 November 2003.

 
 
Today the museum comprises three main buildings. The old National Museum and the connected Administrator’s House showcase the history and culture of Liechtenstein, while the more recent extension includes the natural history collections and a series of temporary exhibitions.Three further museums are also affiliated to the Liechtenstein National Museum. The Farmhouse Museum in Schellenberg, which opened in 1994, shows the lifestyle and customs of the local farming community. The Postal Museum in Vaduz, which was founded in 1930, became part of the Liechtenstein National Museum in 2006. In 2015 the Treasur Chamber was inaugurated and focuses primarily on exhibits belonging to the Princes of Liechtenstein and other private collectors. 
A book detailing the history, collections, exhibitions and buildings of the National Museum was published in 2004 and is available in the museum shop and book stores.