The 24th of December 1818 is a memorable date: in the evening, the carol Silent Night, Holy Night was sung for the first time in Oberndorf by Joseph Mohr and Franz Xaver Gruber. The listeners were the Oberndorf Salzach boatmen who had come to the church of their patron saint, St. Nikola's Church on the right bank of the Salzach, for Christmas mass. They had been through difficult years full of war and poverty, determined by war and poverty.
Presenting the song and its history at the place of its first performance was the idea for the new Silent Night Museum in Oberndorf. Two floors in the Old Rectory next to the Silent Night Chapel are available for this purpose. Joseph Mohr lived in this vicarage during his time as an assistant priest in Oberndorf.
Joseph Mohr's connection to the Oberndorf boatmen, the life of the boatmen's families and the importance of Salzach shipping are shown on the first floor of the museum. The time of the song's creation, the evening of its first performance and its further dissemination are thematised on the second floor. The significance of the song's lyrics as well as its denigrations and rewritings under various political regimes will be addressed, as well as the song's message of peace and its emotional significance for people. The arc stretches all the way to the millions of people today who sing the song not only at Christmas.
The immersion into the history of origins and the life of the time is enriched with many multimedia stations. A karaoke station lets visitors experiment with the musically and linguistically different versions. Several interactive stations on both levels invite children as well as adults to discover, puzzle and listen to stories. The museum courtyard is dedicated to the Oberndorf philosopher and winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize Leopold Kohr. On the top floor, a museum educational room is available for workshops and school classes.
Museum opening hours:
- 07 January - 31 March
- 01 April - 30 June
- 01 July - 31 October
- 01 November - 06 January 2024
- All holidays 10:00-18:00