The modern Medical University of Vienna has an incredibly rich cultural heritage, which represents the almost 650-year history of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Vienna and current Medical University of Vienna.
Until the middle of the 18th century, the Faculty of Medicine played an essential role in the healthcare system of a region that encompassed modern Bavaria, Upper Austria, Lower Austria including Vienna, Burgenland and parts of Hungary and Styria at the very least. As far as we know, the only other bodies to take on a similar role were Italian universities, and the faculty of medicine at the University of Prague, although they covered considerably smaller geographic areas or had considerably fewer powers. The significance of the so-called “Viennese Medical Schools” of the 18th and 19th centuries is particularly well known.
The Josephinum is of particular significance to the cultural heritage of the Medical University of Vienna, not only because of the unique historical, architectural and cultural importance of the building itself and its original collections, but also as an institution responsible for preserving, studying and mediating all the historic collections held by the Medical University of Vienna.
One of the outstanding features of the Medical University of Vienna’s rich cultural heritage is that its collections have grown over many centuries, developed out of everyday use in the faculty for scientific, educational, research and healthcare purposes, and thus represent the variety of ways in which these fields developed. The impact of Vienna’s Medical Faculty is extensively documented and these materials are also unique for the wide range of sources preserved to this day (architecture, teaching material, instruments, literature, archive material, artwork and many others).
The collection of wax anatomical models has a particular significance among the many collections, libraries, documents and assets held by the Josephinum as a unique cultural artefact, unlike anything else in the world. It must therefore be seen as a historic monument and protected accordingly.
Alterations and restoration work to the building, its furnishings and the collections themselves are only undertaken in close cooperation with the Austrian Federal Office for the Protection of Monuments.