The composer Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) spent the last decade or so of his life in Gumpendorf, just outside of Vienna, composing the majority of his late work – including ‘The Seasons’. Upon the 200th anniversary of his death, his house was restored and is now a museum. The Haydnhaus museum focuses on the last years of the composer’s life, and the permanent exhibitions represent the political and social atmosphere of Austria in the early 19th century when Haydn lived there. The main focus of the exhibit revolves around Haydn’s music, his life, and the end of his years. He was an internationally renowned composer who was celebrated by his colleagues – indeed, he was the most famous composer in all of Europe when he died. Part of the exhibit includes the records and memoirs of the international visitors who came to pay Haydn their respects in his final years. The house’s ground floor displays portraits of Haydn’s guests from those days, and the rooms are divided up as they were in Haydn’s time. The highlight of the Haydnhaus is the small garden, which is modeled after the symmetrical bourgeois gardens of the time.
The museum is free to visit on the first Sunday of the month. The patio, garden, and main exhibits are located on the ground floor; the second floor is only accessible by stairs. Audio guides, which include several pieces of Haydn’s music, are available for 3 €.