Admission for journalistsIf you identify yourself and register, you will be given free admission and a Museum press folder. You can also book in advance for your free personal guided tour by contacting our press office. To receive our press releases, you can register for the Press Distribution List or follow us on Facebook OetziTheIceman.
For photo and film inquiries and authorisationProfessional photo shoots and filming are allowed only by prior request and after obtaining authorisation. Some photo images can also be downloaded from our media archive.
Facts & figures
Building and exhibitions
The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology belongs to the museums run by the Autonomous Province of Bozen-Bolzano, South Tyrol, Italy. It is located in a former bank, dating from 1912 when the city was part of the Austrian Empire, on the edge of Bozen’s pedestrian zone. Designed in 1998 as a space featuring exhibits from the archaeology of the southern Alpine arc, Ötzi and numerous topics associated with the Iceman can now be seen on three floors of the Museum. The fourth floor is dedicated to regularly changing special exhibitions about archaeology in South Tyrol. A new museum location for Ötzi and the permanent exhibition on the archaeology of South Tyrol is currently under discussion.
Reminder Ötzi the Iceman
More than 5,000 years ago, a man ascended the icy heights of the Schnals Valley glacier and died there. In 1991, his mortal remains – together with his clothing and equipment, mummified and frozen – were discovered by accident. This was an archaeological sensation providing a unique glimpse into the life of a man of the Chalcolithic Period who was travelling at high altitudes. After many years of investigation by highly-specialized research teams, the mummy recovered from the glacier and the accompanying artifacts are now accessible to the public in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology. We are fascinated, astonished, but also strangely touched to meet a witness of our own past. The fate of an individual human being deprives the "story" of its anonymity – and it comes alive in our imaginations.
The nickname Ötzi, coined by Viennese journalist Karl Wendl (after the Ötztal Alps in South Tyrol where the mummy was found), is frequently used in German-speaking countries, but the English term Iceman has caught on internationally.
Provenance of visitors
The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology is not a major institution, but visitors come from all continents. In 2019 (last year before the pandemy), people from all European countries visited the Museum: Germany: 42%; Italy not including South Tyrol: 27%; South Tyrol: 5%; Austria: 6%, rest of Europe: 14%; rest of the world: 6%.
Number of visitors
Since its opening on 28 march 1998, the museum has been visited by over 6 million people. Last year, 2022, we met 254,088 visitors.
The permanent exhibition of the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology
It has been more than 30 years since a married couple hiking on a glacier in the Ötz Valley Alps discovered one of the most important mummies ever found. People, the media and scientists from all over the world followed the recovery of Ötzi the Iceman, who had been preserved intact for 5,300 years along with his clothing and equipment. Archaeological and scientific research has uncovered countless secrets about Ötzi and his life during the Copper Age. Since it opened on 28 March 1998, over 6 million people have visited the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano to see the mummy and its artefacts at close hand. In 2011, the permanent exhibition on the Iceman in the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology was extended to three floors and expanded to include Ötzi's living environment, the research results and the murder case.
The first floor of the Museum is dedicated to Ötzi and his original artefacts. The content has been reworked to include the latest scientific findings and underscores the unique nature of the objects. For the first time, the complex preservation technology of the mummy is explained. Visitors can find out more about mummification via videos or interactive stations. The comparison with a skeleton cast from the Remedello necropolis from the time of Ötzi (near Brescia, Italy, 3rd millennium BC) illustrates the wealth of additional information that a glacier mummy like Ötzi can offer. In the "Discovery Room" active area, various materials invite you to experiment and try things out: who can put Ötzi's birch bark vessel together? How can string be made from Linden bast? How does it feel to wear Ötzi's fur coat?
On the second floor of the Museum, the Alpine environment during the Copper Age is vividly depicted and complemented by important artefacts from the Alpine region. Silex and copper, two important materials from Ötzi's equipment, provide an insight into the Copper Age knowledge of materials and the procurement radius of raw materials. The topics on this floor draw on the results that research and science have gathered over the past thirty years. The exhibition also includes details of the researchers’ methods and working processes. Visitors can even examine the mummy at an interactive multimedia light table. The virtual body of the mummy can be opened up via a touch screen, and visitors can discover and study important medical curiosities. Microscopes are also on hand to examine Ötzi’s bone structure, which was used to determine his age. A lot of space is also devoted to results that were triggered by the decoding of Ötzi's DNA. Ötzi’s origins indicates that his ancestors migrated from the Middle East during the Neolithic period following the spread of farming and animal rearing. Forensic science has determined that Ötzi was clearly of Central European origin. His genome inherited from his mother’s side has died out, but is most similar to the Ladin population in the South Tyrolean Dolomites. On his father’s side, the Iceman belongs to a genetic group that was previously widespread in Europe but is now rare and only found in isolated communities such as on the islands of Sardinia and Corsica.