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Edith Hessenberger

„We want to answer the great questions.“

Edith Hessenberger, managing director of the Ötztal Museums, measures the past of the valley in order to give impetus to the future. Edith Hessenberger heads the Ötztal Museums, "the valley's historical memory archives". At three different exhibition venues - the Tower Museum in Oetz, the Local Heritage and Outdoor Museum in Lehn and the neighboring Memory Archives - she and her expert team promise a lively examination of Ötztal's past. "The Ötztal Museums,” she explains, "are places where people meet. There is enough room for exchange of ideas, discussion and polyphony.”

"The Ötztal Museums are a harbor where you can confidently dock. We are sitting in a 600-year old building in Lehn near Längenfeld, that alone tells our unique story. Also the locals appreciate us - and recommend us to others. Through our work we want to answer the great questions: Where do we come from? Actually, who are we? And we try to help find an answer to the central question: Where do we want to go?

In order to be able to give all these answers, knowledge of our culture, economy and identity is required. We need to know them in order to be able to consciously develop ourselves further. We are rightly proud of the beautiful nature that Ötztal has to offer. But we shouldn't see the great natural environment without its cultural space. They belong together. They are the two sides of the same coin.

Expert historians consider the change of epochs in larger contexts. Historically, Ötztal has been catapulted extremely quickly from a traditional circular economy system into a modern service-oriented society. With this change came the subliminal fear that the new achievements - prosperity, security, connection to the modern age - could disappear as quickly as they came. We must not forget that there are still many people in Ötztal who personally remember a poor and hard past.

This awareness of how hard and difficult life used to be is still there. And it shapes the people in the valley in very many different ways: Some consciously follow the paths of tradition. Others want to be at the forefront of all new developments. And of course there are also those who no longer want to look back, but only look ahead.

Edith Hessenberger

Our passionate work is highly valued by the local population. We also have a lot to offer at our three locations. We are an archive, specialist library, art collection, event location and contact point for everyday culture and mountain agriculture. We try to be a place of knowledge and experience for the whole Ötztal valley. And we still have big plans.

We want to bring Artists in Residence to Ötztal in order to benefit from their critical point of view. We are planning exhibitions on narratives, which can also be brought into question in a critical way: Tourism history, for example, requires a new way of looking at things. In the future we will focus on building culture, changes in architecture - and repeatedly on our cultural heritage. Because we have to know where we come from to see where we're going."

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