Archduke Franz Ferdinand with his first elephant kill, photograph: Lala Deem Dayal, © KHM mit MVK und ÖTM

Exhibition: Franz Ferdinand's journey around the world, Vienna

Posted on on 19 February 2014
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An exhibition at the Weltmuseum in Vienna, Austria, will explore a ten month world trip that Archduke Franz Ferdinand made in 1892-93.

An American newspaper ran the headline 'Franz is here!' on his arrival in the USA during the tour, as such, the museum has entitled the exhibition: Franz is here! Franz Ferdinand's journey around the world.

It will open on the 9th April 2014 and run until the 2nd November.

Franz Ferdinand arriving in Tokyo in August 1893, Japan, Meiji-Period, © KHM mit MVK und ÖTM


The Weltmuseum is conscious that with the Centenary of the Archduke's assassination - who was murdered by Bosnian-Serb nationalists on the 28th June 1914 - that other institutions will focus on "his death and its terrible consequences".

The museum has therefore decided to focus on his world trip, which it describes as a "seminal event in the Archduke's life" and to address the question: who was Franz Ferdinand really?

The museum will use the diaries that Franz Ferdinand kept during the tour - which were published as two volumes after his return to Austria-Hungary - as the basis of the exhibition.

Dance Mask – Malanggan – Ritual for the Dead, New Ireland (Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea), © KHM mit MVK und ÖTM

From Pula in Croatia, the Archduke travelled to Suez, Aden, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, South-East Asia, Oceania, Australia, China, Japan and the United States, amassing 14,000 objects along the way; 10,000 of which are held at the Weltmuseum.

The diaries often document Franz Ferdinand expressing himself in a highly personal manner, as he met princes, emperors and Maharajas.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand with Mahbub-Ali-Khan, Nizam of Hyderabad, photograph: Lala Deem Dayal, © KHM mit MVK und ÖTM

The diaries offer "a wealth of insight into his own contradictory personality" and will be accompanied by objects he collected.

The Archduke was conscious of highlighting to his people his qualifications to rule, the Weltmuseum says, and of projecting himself as "an educator of his people".

He put his entire collection on show upon his return in his own museum.

Ethnographic artefacts, photographs, archive material and contemporary press cuttings will all be on display, which, the museum states, will provide a "completely new picture of the conflicting and fragmented identity of the Archduke".

                            Gangamar India, 12th century statue, © KHM mit MVK und ÖTM

Source: Weltmuseum Vienna

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News