WHAT IS THERE
To get to the Sisi Museum, you first have to walk through the Silberkammer (Silver Collection), a series of rooms with glass cabinets packed full of plates, cutlery, glassware, dishes and tureens. Everywhere you look there’s porcelain, silver, gold and more – I’ve never seen so much tableware in one place, not even in a homeware department! It’s up to you whether to take the long route through the collection or the short-cut straight to the Sisi Museum. (I went for the long option because I just couldn’t believe how many plates and cups the imperial family owned!)
At the end of the Silver Collection you come to the red-carpeted staircase that leads up the Sisi Museum. The exhibition starts with the Empress’ death. You learn about who she was, what clothes she wore, and how, where and when she was assassinated. In each room there’s background music playing to help set the scene, including railway sound effects in the Empress’ reconstructed train compartment, where you learn all about her travels.
The next part of the museum takes you through the magnificent Imperial Apartments – the home of Emperor and Empress. Here you learn how and where the imperial couple lived and what a typical day in their life looked like. Even if you’ve seen all the Sissi films, there are still some interesting nuggets of information. For instance, the Empress spoke many languages, which she learnt while she was having her hair done (that was two hours every day!). She enjoyed sports and ate very little (anorexia perhaps?). Her children’s diaries reveal that she was sad much of the time (possibly depression?). Emperor Franz Joseph and Sisi slept in separate rooms and lived in separate apartments. He loved her very much, but her feelings towards him are much debated.
The exhibition also includes many everyday and personal items used by the imperial couple. In the last room, for instance, you’ll find a table set for dinner. It’s fascinating to see how much cutlery and glassware was used for one dinner, and read all the rules that diners had to follow. Who knew that when invited to dine with the Emperor, all guests had to stop eating when he put his cutlery to one side! Dinner with Franz and Sisi must’ve been quite a stressful experience!