Freud and I is an wordplay, as reading Freud as a teenager influenced my beliefs, it also represents the self, a notion used in psychology. I thought it’s a better title for my post than “Freud museum”.
When I was 12 or 13 I decided I want to pursue a career in Psychology, something that was controversial in my family considering the options available at that time, mid 90s. Romania was only starting to open to new sciences after the fall of the communism in 1989. From 1977 to 1990 there wasn’t a Psychology University in Romania, the communist party found it undesirable and banned it. The education system was different in Romania (now is slightly changed, still different than the British system though), there was the primary school for ages 6 (or 7, but it was 6 for me) to 10, the gymnasium for ages 10 to 14 and high school for ages 14 to 18. After high school is University.
So, I was in the gymnasium when I knew what I want to do. I think most of my family though I will change my mind in a couple of years. As soon as I started high school, I went to the library and bookshops and I took books. Of course, essays written by Freud were among those book. It only made me more determined to study Psychology and I did.
It wasn’t a surprise I wanted to visit Freud museum for a while, but it’s open from Wednesday to Sunday and it didn’t fit with our schedule, until now. It was busier than I was expected. We took an audio guide and went on a tour of the house. After we finished the tour, a guide told us a tour will start shortly. I though she might tell us the same information as in the guide, but we decided to go on the tour anyway. It was a really good idea, as almost everything she talked about wasn’t in the audio guide.
The museum is in the final home of Freud. He lived in that house from 1938, as he had to flee from Nazi after they occupied Vienna. He died a year later, in September 1939. Anna Freud lived and worked in the house until her death in 1982. She wished the house will become a museum. The most amazing thing about Freud museum is that most of his belongings were brought from Vienna. His studio was recreated and this is where he had patients.
Freud loved England, but he wasn’t happy to move here as a refugee. He was convinced by his family in the end. With high diplomatic intervention he and his family were able to travel by train to England.
This is the well-known sofa where his patients would sit during the sessions. He had an armchair near the sofa, but placed in a way that the patients wouldn’t see him when they were speaking. Psychoanalysis is still practised today.
His desk was filled with his favourite pieces of archaeology. He would sometimes use them when he was talking with his patients. The chair was specially designed for him, as he liked to read in different positions.
It’s remarkable that by deciding to move to UK all this was saved. The Nazi burned his books and surely they would have destroyed these too. All of his four sisters died in concentration camps, three of them in gas chambers. One of his brothers fled to Canada. Freud’s sons emigrated to France and England after Hitler came into power.
Freud love archaeology and he acquired a large collection during his lifetime. Some is on display in his study. Everything on his desk had a meaning, like the porcupine. Before a trip to the US, Freud was anxious about the lectures he was supposed to give. To take the edge off, he though the main reason to go to US was to see a porcupine and, among other things, to give some lectures.
Some conservation work was in progress, this is why there is a bright light. Usually the curtains aren’t open, to better preserve the carpets and the furniture.
It was wonderful for me to see the house and the study, to learn more about Freud and his daughter Anna, who was a psychologist as well.