#20 Third Man Museum

My name is Thomas E. Fuchs and I would like to adopt the Third Man Museum.

Small prize at the Third Man Museum (Photograph by Thomas E. Fuchs)

Small prize at the Third Man Museum (Photograph by Thomas E. Fuchs)

Tell us a bit more about yourself

I’m a retired church minister of the Evangelische Kirche im Rheinland, one of the bigger regional Protestant churches in Germany. As a minister I’ve worked in Germany, Scotland and Italy. I like travelling, going to museums, meeting with and talking topeople, which does include speaking foreign languages, of which I can master five more or less.

Tell us a bit more about your adopted museum
The ‘Dritte Mann Museum’ (or Third Man Museum) in Vienna, Austria, is a recent discovery of mine while paying a short visit to that city of pomp and glory. The museum is run privately by only two people as their passionate past-time, and it is open only on Saturday afternoons, as those two have to make a living for themselves (and to fund their “baby”) during the rest of the week. That means they do not receive any funding whatsoever from “third parties”. The museum itself is the only museum in the world dedicated to just one film exclusively, i.e. to “The Third Man”, shot in 1948.

Why have you chosen to adopt this museum?
I saw the film for the first time many years ago, and – as far as I know – it has always been and still is “cult” in Germany (though not in Austria!). Maybe I can widen the fan-club for the subject and thus contribute to the publicity of the museum, and – this would be an extra – find some more paraphernalia to add to the approx. 2.200 exhibits. Even if the ticket fees won’t ever make ends meet, those two Austrian “aficionados” deserve more visitors than they get so far.

Why would you recommend people visit?
The museum is very well designed with its 13 smallish rooms, which give a sort of in-depth knowledge of the film, the actors (Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Trevor Howard, Alida Valli and the famous German speaking actors Ernst Deutsch, Paul Hörbiger, Erich Ponto, Hedwig Bleibtreu) and the afterwards world-famous zither-player Anton (“Toni”) Karas (Harry Lime Theme!), the director Carol Reed and of course the playwright Graham Greene; the latter had invented the Third Man, alias Harry Lime, as a homage to his famous and infamous friend Kim Philby. The collection not only shows the situation of post WWII Vienna (posters, proclamations, household and other every-day items), but also holds some original accessories of the film itself (Toni’s zither, Hansl’s cap). As a bonus, whoever counts the right number of times the closing scene of the film featured in the last room, can collect a small surprise at the ticket desk (see photo below). All in all it is a very instructive and throughout bilingually labelled collection (German and English), cared for by two wonderful and hospitable people.

How would you sum up your museum in three words?
Nostalgic, instructive, welcoming

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