In Conversation - Monika Pessler, Director Sigmund Freud Museum Vienna, with Carol Seigel, Director Freud Museum London.
Berggasse 19 and 20 Maresfield Gardens are both museums dedicated to Sigmund Freud. The first was the apartment in Vienna where Freud and his family lived for more than forty years, and the second is the house in London where the Freud's settled after fleeing Nazi-occupied Vienna in 1938. The first is full largely of memories, and the second contains all the material possessions – the iconic couch, the antiquities, the library – brought by the Freuds on their flight to London. Both houses are now open to the public and attract thousands of visitors a year.
The two Directors discuss their museums’ unusual situation as ‘two sides of the same coin’, and the challenges they face. How can the story of Sigmund Freud, his life, writings, and the ideas of psychoanalysis be best told in a Museum setting? How is an individual story told in the context of wider cultural or political events, such as the rise of Nazism? How can the complex nature of psychoanalysis be explored in a museum setting? What is the role of art or education in these museums? How do the two physical spaces relate to each other, and what should the relation be between the two houses in London and Vienna?
In this wide-ranging discussion, the Directors will outline their own visions for the two Museums, the relationship between London and Vienna, and their exciting plans for redeveloping both houses to represent Sigmund Freud for the twenty-first century.
Monika Pessler, art historian, training as curator at the Institute for Cultural Studies at the Danube University Krems. 2014 Completion of the Master's Program "organisational development" at the Alpen Adria University, Austria. Activities for art institutions and festivals in the fields of arts and architecture. 2003-2013 director of the Frederick Kiesler Foundation, since 2014 Director of the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna.
Carol Seigel is the Director of the Freud Museum, London. She studied history at Cambridge University and at Birkbeck, University of London. She has worked in museums in London for nearly twenty years, including as Curator of Social History at the Jewish Museum and running public programmes at the Museum of London. She has been the Director of the Freud Museum since 2009.