Special exhibitions

Photograph: Petra Rainer
Photograph: Petra Rainer

At Your Own Risk

Special Exhibition on the Third Floor | 29 May until spring 2023

What frightens you? Where do you feel safe? Who or what protects you? The strategies to deal with dangers have changed over time. Our ancestors started to secure slopes and regulate streams and rivers, they founded fire brigades, insurance companies and the police force who have always been, and still are, monitoring compliance with the rules. Meanwhile, the greatest threat to mankind seems to be man himself – climatic disasters, wars, the pandemic. Safety is primarily built on trust – formerly in the good Lord, today in the government. How safe do you feel? Come and explore this exhibition … at your own risk.

With the support of  Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur,  öffentlicher Dienst und SportVorarlberger Landes-Versicherung V.a.GJosko Fenster & Türen GmbH and ÖWD.

Exhibitions in the Atrium (Free entry!)

comming up next:  “Zur Krippe her kommet”, 19 Nativity Scenes for the Museum from 26 November until 8 January 2023

Interventions and cooperations


Light Installation by Miriam Prantl in the Staircase

The Vorarlberg artist Miriam Prantl created the light installation Colours/Lights/Lake for the staircase featuring a gentle play of colours that reflects different light atmospheres at Lake Constance. The railing is equipped with LED strip lights whose upward light movement corresponds to the programming of seven light boxes in the stairwell. Slowing down, calming down, contemplation – the effect of the colours and the light attune visitors for the exhibition.  


Extra-mural Exhibitions Co-operation

Werkraumdepot Bregenzerwald, Andelsbuch | permanent
Werkraum Depot – A Study Collection of Contemporary Craftsmanship/Design

Core exhibitions

Photograph: Miro Kuzmanovic

Cosmopolitan City or?

Exhibition on the 3rd Floor

Brigantium in the 1st Century A.D. 

A forum the size of a football pitch, an ancient Roman spa, the craft and trade quarter at the Tschermakgarten in Bregenz – the public and private buildings of Brigantium dating from the first century A.D. all fire up your imagination. Was Bregenz a city during the time of the Romans? There is a lot to suggest that it was, but no clear evidence to confirm this. Following the much praised exhibition Romans or ...?, Cosmopolitan City or ...? is all about living together in Brigantium. Who used this place? Who lived here? Did they have an administration as well as a fiscal and social system? How was the economic and religious life organised? Based on the most recent scientific findings and archaeological finds, the exhibition invites museum visitors to speculate in a well-informed manner about Brigantium, its residents and visitors.

Ausstellungsansicht buchstäblich vorarlberg, Foto: Markus Tretter
Photograph: Markus Tretter

buchstäblich vorarlberg

Permanent Exhibition Second Floor

Insights into the Collection

Our collection comprises close to 160,000 objects from the fields of archaeology, art, everyday culture and history. The exhibition showcases very important and, at first glance, also less important objects from the museum’s rich holdings in alphabetical order. It starts with the letter “A” for “angelica-mad,” showing engravings by the artist Angelika Kauffmann, and ends with the letter “Z” for “zahla” (to pay), which features the hoard of coins found at Sonderberg Castle. In between schnapps glasses, self-portraits by Edmund Kalb, pommels, the estates of Fritz Krcal and Kundeyt Surdum, priest’s vestments, herbariums …

Coming up

Photograph: Petra Rainer

“Zur Krippe her kommet”
19 Nativity Scenes for the Museum

Exhibition in the Event Hall on the 1st Floor | 26 November until 8 January 2023

The collection of the vorarlberg museum lacked nativity scenes, particularly contemporary ones, despite the 19 nativity construction groups with some 1,500 members that are active in the federal state. In order to document the art of contemporary nativity scene construction, these associations built scenes especially for the museum, with an astonishing diversity of nativity scenes created. Various designs and special local features were integrated depending on the region or valley they were built in. For nine nativity scenes, the members of the associations also created the figures, the others were made by wood sculptors of Vorarlberg. In conclusion of this cooperation, the nativity scenes are shown in an exhibition which will also be documented by a newly published book.

In cooperation with the Vorarlberger Landeskrippenverband.

What Really Matters to Us.
Cultural Heritage – A Challenge

Special exhibition | 2 December until 16 April 2023

Whether it is works of art, architecture, tradition or craftsmanship – a society defines itself, if nothing else, by its cultural past. However, opinions diverge widely today as to what should be considered as cultural heritage and they can cause fierce arguments about, for example, monuments of politicians of the past. A society’s cultural heritage is no longer determined by tradition but needs continuous renegotiation if it wants to be as inclusive as possible and a source of identity. Numerous artists contribute to this discussion in the exhibition What Really Matters to Us.

In co-operation with “Relevanzen. Verein zur Förderung des Dialogs rund um das Kulturerbe”.

Marko Zink
photograph: Marko Zink

Marko Zink
M 48° 15′ 24.13″ N, 14° 30′ 6.31″ E

Mauthausen – The Eradication of Memory, Special Exhibition | 16 December 2022 until 16 April 2023

The Vienna-based Vorarlberg artist Marko Zink (* 1975) uses the medium of analogue photography to come to terms with the horrors of the Holocaust. His subject is Mauthausen – the location and synonym of the annihilation of tens of thousands of people. He cuts, stamps, or boils the film used or treats it with chlorine and ink eraser before exposing it. Like this, the photographs look like historical finds and tell of both the annihilation of the human being and the eradication of memory. Zink reflects the transformation of the crime scene into a memorial, thereby embarking on a complex and contextualised search for evidence.

Extra-mural Exhibitions Co-operation

Werkraumdepot Bregenzerwald, Andelsbuch | permanent
Werkraum Depot – A Study Collection of Contemporary Craftsmanship and Design

Mittelalter am Bodensee
Historisches und Völkerkundemuseum St. Gallen – bis 23. Jänner

Art collection of Local Government/vorarlberg museum #4
Foyer government building Bregenz | 10. März bis 5. Mai 2022 (verlängert)

Craft as MythBetween Ideal and Real Life
Museum Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt | 23 April until 11 September 2022

Art Acquisitions Made by Local Government in 2021
Galerie allerArt, Bludenz 29 April until 12 June 2022

Fourteen Holy Helpers
MuSeele im Christophsbad Göppingen | 2 May until 30 October 2022

Eine von uns. Angelika Kauffmann verehrt und vereinnahmt
Angelika Kauffmann Museum, Schwarzenberg | 2 May until 30 October 2022

Mittelalter am Bodensee. Wirtschaftsraum zwischen Alpen und Rheinfall
Archäologisches Landesmuseum Baden-Württemberg, Konstanz | 8. Juli bis 8. Jänner 2023

Art collection of Local Government/vorarlberg museum #5
Foyer government building Bregenz | 20 October until 1 December 2022