Tuider, Bernhard – abstract

Bernhard Tuider, Teamleader, Esperanto Museum at the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, Austria

The Esperanto Museum of the Austrian National Library houses one of the world’s most significant collections on this subject. It presents a wide range of media and objects on Esperanto and other planned languages. The museum has close technical, administrative and spatial links with the Department of Planned Languages of the Austrian National Library, in which a total of approximately 500 planned languages are documented. In addition to Esperanto these also include Volapük, Ido, Interlingua and many others.

The Department of Planned Languages and Esperanto Museum was founded in 1927 by Hugo Steiner (1878-1969) as the International Esperanto Museum and set up in 1929 in the Austrian National Library. Thanks to 90 years of continuous collection (interrupted on political grounds in the years 1938 to 1945) it has become the world’s biggest technical library of planned languages and interlinguistics. Today the holdings in the collection comprise over 35,000 volumes of printed publications, 40,000 flyers, 22,000 photographs and negatives, 10,000 autographs and manuscripts, 3,500 magazine titles, 3,000 museum objects and 1,500 posters.

The Esperanto Museum is based on a modern concept including multimedia presentations to convey the varied history of Esperanto over more than 100 years. The principal stations in the history of Esperanto are explained by important publications including the first Esperanto book published by Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof (1859-1917) in 1887 under the pseudonym “Dr. Esperanto”, as well as one of the first Esperanto course books for German-speakers, published by Nobel Prize laureate Alfred Hermann Fried (1864-1921) in 1903.

Furthermore the Esperanto Museum discusses the relationship between mankind and language, and language diversity. By means of interactive media stations, visitors can also examine a number of other planned languages apart from Esperanto in depth. These include Lingua Ignota, the mystic language of Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), and Klingon, from the Star Trek television series. One of the media stations draws attention to the little known fact that so-called natural languages also have portions of artificially created vocabulary.

The presentation will provide an overview on the history, the holdings and the aim of the Esperanto Museum and Department of Planned Languages as well as an insight into the museum concept and the current projects.

Esperanto Museum, Interior Display

Esperanto Museum, Interior Display