Vienna is a honeypot for lovers of art and culture, with an abundance of world-renowned institutions. There are plenty of reasons to treat yourself to a gallery membership. Not only are you supporting the preservation of some amazing collections, but the benefits often go far beyond a year-round pass, with invitations to exclusive events, discounts at the gift shop and exhibition previews.
The Kunsthistorisches Museum membership is designed for anyone who has a passion for art and culture. The benefits of signing up are plentiful, and go way beyond granting you year-round access to the museum (and six other galleries and museums around Austria) with the addition of free audio guides to their exhibitions, a subscription to their magazine, and use of the member’s lounge and the library. Friends Of The Kunsthistorisches Museum are simultaneously given the privilege of exploring The Hofburg Treasury, The Carriage Museum at Schonbrunn Palace, and The Theatre Museum, as well as other attractions around Austria.
The Albertina’s extensive art collection is a must-visit for Modernist fans, with masterpieces by many of the movement’s greatest – Monet, Francis Bacon, Degas and Picasso – all featuring among the permanent exhibition. As well as year-round access to an incredible feast of works, a membership with The Albertina also gives you the advantage of skipping the queues to exhibitions, 10% discount at the gift shop, exhibition previews and a reduction on audio guides. There are four different types of membership to choose from: Full Member, Sustaining Member, Student, or Sponsoring Member.
The Leopold Museum houses a magnificent collection of works by some of Austria’s finest artists, assembled by prolific art collector Dr Rudolf Leopold, who acquired a staggering 5,000 precious artworks during his lifetime. Klimt and Schiele paintings and drawings, of course, feature heavily in the gallery – a few of the highlights that make the Leopold one of the most popular galleries in Vienna. It isn’t physically possible to admire the entirety of the gallery’s splendour in one day, so investing in an annual pass is a good idea for cultural travellers. An annual pass (€49, or €34 for students) gets you invitations to various events, readings, concerts and a discount at the gift shop.
When you join the Belvedere Museum Society, you become part of a historical group that has long been established in Vienna’s cultural scene. Founded in 1912, the original members sought to nurture artists and art-lovers in their work. There are four packages to choose from when signing up to be a friend of the Belvedere Museum. Becoming a ‘Junior Friend’ entitles you to free admission for a year, use of the research centre and reduced admission to partner institutions. The ‘Friend’ option has all the assets of the former package with a few additional perks, such as invitations to gallery openings and member-only tours. The other two options give you the chance to bring along a buddy or two.
The Museum of Applied Arts (or the MAK for short) has an incredible collection of architecture, design and contemporary art all under one roof. Permanent exhibitions of the museum include wonderful historical collections of furniture and fine art and the temporary exhibitions are always fascinating. An annual ticket costs €40 (reduced options available for youngsters and students) and gives you year-round access and free participation in a MAK tour.