The Great Museum Review

Image for The Great Museum

Cameras wonder the halls of an Austrian museum as a section is refurbished and reopened to the public, with the day-to-day life of the staff finally observed like the exhibits themselves.


Embedding himself and his team in Vienna’s not-as-rude-as-it-sounds Kunsthistorisches Museum for two dusty years, Johannes Holzhausen enjoyed enviable access to a fascinating institution. The staff he observes, be they marketeers, restorers, munitions experts or pencil-pushing middle managers, are ambivalent about the camera, allowing for admirable authenticity. Yet in avoiding narration, interviews, music or any traditional method to draw the audience in, the film has a cold, unengaging feel, leaving it mostly for art buffs who like seeing taxidermied bears having their hair fastidiously cleaned with a tiny toothbrush.

Worthy and mildly interesting, this is a curio that will mainly intrigue die-hard museos.