Maximilian1 - The Making of the permanent exhibition

Exhibition Maximilian I
photo: BHÖ


Burghauptmannschaft Österreich started out with the preparations for the jubilee exhibition entitled "Maximilian 1 and the Rise of the Modern World" as early as in summer 2017. It was inaugurated in the Imperial Palace Innsbruck by 2019, the year of the anniversary. The concept for the exhibition was developed in an expert workshop which was held in January 2018 with renowned scientists and academics, not to mention Dr. Manfred Holleger who still advises the exhibition. It was quickly decided that a modern, cutting edge exhibition and interpretation concept would be the solution to embrace Maximilian I’s drive for modernity. The organisers of the exhibition shared the common wish to develop an exhibition that would serve the Tyroleans and international guests far beyond the anniversary of Emperor Maximilian I. As a special contribution, three digital products from the project "Maximilian goes digital" were implemented. The project had been developed in a cooperation between the province of Tyrol, the city of Innsbruck, the University of Innsbruck, Burghauptmannschaft Österreich and Imperial Palace Innsbruck association (Förderverein der Kaiserlichen Hofburg zu Innsbruck).

Thanks to the funding by the province of Tyrol, the city of Innsbruck, the tourism association of Innsbruck and the cooperation with the Imperial Palace Innsbruck association, more than 70 exhibits on loan could be presented on approximately 800 m2 of exhibition area. This makes the exhibition one of the largest anniversary exhibitions ever to be realised. The exhibits on loan came from renowned international and national lenders, such as Kunsthistorisches Museum, the University Library of Heidelberg, the Louvre etc.

After the jubilee exhibition had ended it was converted into a permanent exhibition and new exhibits on loan were installed, such as the stone statues of an empress and an emperor which had been part of an incomplete imperial memorial at the Speyer Cathedral and have been loaned by Salzburg Museum. This permanent exhibition was inaugurated in November 2019.

Maximilian I exhibition
photo: BHÖ

The Exhibition Concept

A dramaturgical concept was developed for the jubilee exhibition to serve as the main read thread that was to connect the large number of physical exhibits and the high-end digital products. It guides the visitors and is emphasised by the way the exhibition is structured. After a retrospective on Emperor Maximilian I’s life, by which the visitors enter the exhibition through an oversized gun barrel, the first thematical part introduces Maximilian as a private person. Starting with this very personal aspect of the Emperor, the visitors will go on a journey to experience step by step the different stages of his life. However, the illustrated path does not end with Maximilian’s death, but includes a look at his afterlife and the memory of Gedechtnus as created by him.

The exhibition embraces modern multi-media presentation, which allows for the purposive and effective integration of digital products such as the cenotaph, Ambras Book of Heroes and Imperial Memorial of Speyer. A 3D-animation of the Triumphal Procession, a digital reconstruction of Imperial Palace’s architectural history and information on the city’s history as well as numerous simulations fully add up to the digital concept of interpretation. Several touch screen stops allow the visitors to skip through or delve into historic copies according to their interests. The concept is rounded off by an exhibition app.

The exhibits have been placed in their thematical area according to the dramaturgical concept. Brief descriptions and labels of the objects and rooms allow for an easy understanding. Further information on the exhibits on loan is available in an academic exhibition booklet, which the visitors receive free of charge. It is available in German and English while the text panels are also available in Italian.