The Freud Museum, as seen from the garden.
|Established||28 July 1986|
|Location||20 Maresfield Gardens, London NW3, England, United Kingdom|
|Public transit access||Finchley Road|
The Freud Museum in London is a museum dedicated to Sigmund Freud, who lived there with his family during the last year of his life. In 1938, after escaping Nazi annexation of Austria he came to London via Paris and stayed for a short while at 39 Elsworthy Road before moving to 20 Maresfield Gardens, where the museum is situated. Although he died a year later in the same house, his daughter Anna Freud continued to stay there until her death in 1982. It was her wish that after her death it be converted into a museum. It was opened to the public in July 1986.
Freud continued to work in London and it was here that he completed his book Moses and Monotheism. He also maintained his practice in this home and saw a number of his patients for analysis. The centerpiece of the museum is the couch brought from Berggasse 19, Vienna on which his patients were asked to say whatever came to their mind without consciously selecting information, named the free association technique by him.
The ground floor of the museum houses Freud's study, library, hall and the dining room. The museum shop is on ground floor as well. The first floor has a video room, Anna Freud's room and there is a temporary exhibitions room which hosts alternate contemporary art and Freud-themed exhibitions. Art installations often use several rooms within the museum, such as the 2001/02 exhibition "A Visit to Freud’s" by an Austrian female photographer Uli Aigner. Many areas such as the kitchen and Anna Freud's consulting room are out of public view and have been converted into offices.
There are two other Freud Museums, one in Vienna, and another which has recently opened in Příbor, the Czech Republic, in the house where Sigmund Freud was born. The latter was opened by president Václav Klaus and four of Freuďs great-grandsons.
The museum is located at 20 Maresfield Gardens in Hampstead, one of London's suburbs. It is open to the public Wednesday to Sunday, 12:00 - 17:00.
The house had only finished being built in 1920 in the Queen Anne Style. A small sun room in a modern style was added at the rear by Ernst Ludwig Freud that same year. Freud was over eighty at this time, and he died the following year, but the house remained in his family until his youngest daughter Anna Freud, who was a pioneer of child therapy, died in 1982.
The Freuds were able to move all of their furniture and household effects to London. The star exhibit in the museum is Freud's psychoanalytic couch. There are also Biedermeier chests, tables and cupboards, and a collection of 18th century and 19th century Austrian painted country furniture. The museum owns Freud's collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Oriental antiquities, and his personal library. The collection includes a portrait of Freud by Salvador Dalí. The study and library were preserved by Anna Freud after her father's death. The bookshelf behind Freud's desk contains some of his favourite authors: not only Goethe and Shakespeare but also Heine, Multatuli and Anatole France. Freud acknowledged that poets and philosophers had gained insights into the unconscious which psychoanalysis sought to explain systematically. In addition to the books, the library contains various pictures hung as Freud arranged them; these include 'Oedipus and the Riddle of the Sphinx' and 'The Lesson of Dr Charcot' plus photographs of Martha Freud, Lou Andreas-Salomé, Yvette Guilbert, Marie Bonaparte, and Ernst von Fleischl.
The museum organizes research and publication programmes and it has an education service which organises seminars, conferences and educational visits to the museum. The museum is a member of the London Museums of Health & Medicine.
The study is filled with antiquities from ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt and the Orient. Freud visited many archaeological sites (though not Egypt) but most of the collection was acquired from dealers in Vienna. He confessed that his passion for collecting was second in intensity only to his addiction to cigars. Yet the importance of the collection is also evident in Freud's use of archaeology as a metaphor for psychoanalysis. One example of this is Freud's explanation to a patient that conscious material 'wears away' while what is unconscious is relatively unchanging: "I illustrated my remarks by pointing to the antique objects about my room. They were, in fact, I said, only objects found in a tomb, and their burial had been their preservation."
When Freud wrote “We have it incomparably better than at Berggasse and even than Grinzing”, he wasn’t just comparing favourably the spacious rooms with large windows to the dark small apartments in Vienna. Both Sigmund and Anna Freud loved the garden, which is still meticulously maintained, and contains many of the same plants of which Freud was so fond. The garden’s alterations with the changing seasons, reflected his own interests and stages in life, as did the classical artefacts Freud had on his desk.
The garden today is largely as Freud would have known it, from the terracotta flower pot, containing a red geranium (with Anna Freud’s trowel still beside it) to the circular flower bed to the right of the garden and the curved bench and tables on the shaded left-hand side of the garden. The large pine tree at the rear of the garden, was knee-height when Anna Freud first had it planted and the roses, clematis, hortense, plum and almond trees are all original plants from the time of the Freuds first coming to live at Maresfield Gardens.
- "About the Museum". Freud Museum London. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
- Official website of the Freud Museum (London)
- Official website of the Freud Museum (Vienna)
- Pribor, Czech Republic website about Sigmund Freud and information about the museum