Since the beginnings of the Musealverein [Museum Association] folkloric objects have been incorporated into the portfolio that reflect Upper Austria’s historic and contemporary material culture. In addition to the classic collection focuses from rural areas, such as traditional costumes, ceramics, cast iron art, furniture, folk art and traditional tools, over the past few decades the collection has also increasingly included everyday objects from Upper Austria. Items bearing witness to industrial, blue collar and leisure culture have also been collected, such as a VOEST construction worker’s helmet, blue overalls, a Capital City of Culture Linz ’09 button and examples of products from artisanal and industrial production.

 “Upper Austrian rural living” in the basement of the Francisco-Carolinum is the focus of the folkloric collection with respect to its idea and materials. This has existed as part of the art and cultural history collection since 1880 and as its own department since 1939.
The department grew in 1941 through the acquisition of the “Zöhrer Collection” (nearly 2,000 objects) and the collection of Privy Counsellor Anton Pachinger. In addition, “rescue purchases” in terms of the protection of heritage, are also a result of the systematic collection activities.

The costume collection and reverse glass images were acquired from the art department and in the 1960s the toy portfolio and nativity figures.

To illustrate the collection’s reorientation the folkloric department was renamed the “Department for Folklore and Everyday Culture” in 2015.

The collection currently encompasses 33,000 numerically catalogued three-dimensional objects and around 20,000 two-dimensional objects from the “image archive”. They have an Upper Austrian focus and include on one hand numerous special collections while on the other hand also regional (Salzkammergut) and thematic units. An extensive archive of plans and images and a few endowments are also available, including documentary photographs. The textile collection alone with garments, handicrafts and materials as well as the related equipment and templates encompasses around 8,000–10,000 objects.

The superb furniture collection unrivalled in Europe includes around 600 pieces of painted furniture, some of which are exhibited in the branch office in the Freilichtmuseum Sumerauerhof St. Florian [open air museum]. The object groups of reverse glass paintings, mangers and textiles are not only noteworthy because of their quantity but also their quality.

Exemplary and a paradigm in its early years, the Upper Austrian Musealverein [Museum Association] is now setting a new research focus, first in the textile sector and later for other material goods. The folklore department is also understood to be a central research and liaison site, e.g. contact point for questions relating to all areas of folklore. For this reason the collection of samples is also meant to be available to interested parties for scientific analysis. Structuring this is the aim for the coming years.

To not only realise this current collection strategy in-house but also throughout Austria and, in order to achieve a harmonisation in the museums’ collection concepts, the folklore department runs and maintains the “Everyday Culture since 1945” project. The project group has existed since 2015 and this “exemplary” institution is dedicated to the collection of designs and samples with the aim of scientific analysis initially in the textile sector.

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