The Globe Museum Vienna

Airports aren’t the nicest places in the world. Nevertheless, I enjoy travelling. I want to see the world, and who doesn’t? At the museum at the centre of this post, I saw the world again and again. The Globe Museum in Vienna is conveniently housed in the same building as the Esperanto Museum ,  which makes sense as they both fall under the auspices of the Austrian National Library.

The Globe Museum is a one-of-a-kind museum. It is the only one in the world that looks exclusively at globes.

A selection of globes from Vienna's Globe Museum
A selection of globes from Vienna’s Globe Museum

I do love a niche museum – it’s one of the reasons I’ve kept up with my Museum Adventuring over the years, although I’ve never found one that tops this museum in Budapest

Globes fall into two main categories, well three if you count the types that store booze in a classy way. The two main types of globe are planetary (it’s a 3D representation of a planet, Earth for example) and celestial (it’s a 3D version of the heavens). The idea of a celestial globe has always puzzled me; why is the sky ball shaped? It feels like someone got their mythology confused.

Let me explain. In Greek mythology, Atlas holds up the sky (hence Mount Atlas), but many people think he holds up the Earth. I recall a Science textbook saying this, which irked me no end. I raised the point with the teacher who said that in this case it didn’t matter what he was holding, just that he was holding something.

A* teaching there.

I digress. So, some folk say Atlas holds up the Earth (hence an Atlas, a book representation of what Atlas is holding). Was there a wire crossed somewhere? Hence celestial globe?

Or does the celestial sphere contain the Earth within it? If so, that’s a very Earth-centric world-view which I’m sure many extra-terrestrials would dispute.

A Celestial globe featuring the constellation Hercules
A Celestial globe featuring the constellation Hercules

Here is a Celestial Globe featuring a representation of the constellation Hercules. You may have noticed the cheeky #MuseumBum in there.

The Globe Museum was a quiet one, tucked out of the way. It didn’t feel like it was on the tourist trail, which is always nice. Try and visit if you can.

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