Historical Perspective by Irene Oakes
In 1907, at a meeting of the Deutscher und Österreichischer Alpenverein (DOeAV), decisions were made to establish a museum, with the aim of preserving the history of the development of mountaineering in the Eastern Alps. Four years later, an Alpine Museum was formally opened in Munich.
With the Anschluss in 1938 the name was changed to Deutscher Alpenverein and stock was arbitrarily divided between Munich and Innsbruck. Six years later the Munich museum was bombed and, together with its contents, totally destroyed. In anticipation of this possibility, material had recently been transferred to Innsbruck, slightly reducing overall losses. However the Tirol stock was subsequently plundered, damaged and moved several times before the residue reached a storeroom in the new OeAV headquarters.
No preserved inventory of these remnants existed, so much intensive effort was required before the basis of a well-ordered collection could be established in Innsbruck’s Wilhelm-Greil Strasse in 1977. This museum was rebuilt to modern standards in 1994 and mounted several small but excellent exhibitions over the next ten years. The possibility of easier public access together with more space came with an opportunity to move to the Hofburg, in the pedestrian zone.
So ambitious and extensive a project necessitated closure for 2 years until the museum reopened in its new venue in November 2007 with a special exhibition, “Mountains, an Inexplicable Passion”, dedicated to the many and varied aspects of mountaineering. With a map, visitors can find their way through 12 rooms, each with its own motto – Imagine … Capture … Observe … Walk … Vertigo … Repose … Holding on … Persisting … Surmounting … Exhausted … Descend … Reminisce
[Updated 15 December 2014]