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Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum

© by Arnold Weisz

Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of Austria’s greatest celebrities, has a museum in the village where he was born. We visited the Terminator’s humble roots near Graz in Styria.

The Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum is located in the former childhood home of Arnold Schwarzenegger and is the only official museum in the world dedicated to him. The museum was privately funded and opened in 2011 in a building that used to be the local police station and where he grew up. Parts of the building are made into exhibition rooms while they have also preserved the kitchen and, for some reason, the toilet in its original state. The rest of the rooms are devoted to the bodybuilder, his film career, and his years as Governor of California. You can find the museum in the village of Thal, just 15 minutes by car from the Styrian capital, Graz, in southeastern Austria.

From childhood to the governor

Housed in his birthplace, the museum showcases Schwarzenegger’s journey from local Austrian boy to international superstar and politician. The museum is not large, only 200 m2, but it’s filled with objects from his childhood, bodybuilding days, film career, and time as the Governor of California. You can even find his locker with content from his time as a conscript soldier in the Austrian army. Shortly after joining the military, he won his first bodybuilding title, Mr Junior Europe. Lifelike mannequins show Arnold Schwarzenegger in some movie roles and as a bodybuilder. In addition, one of the “robots” from the Terminator films has a job as an exhibit in the museum. Here, you can stand face-to-face with a frightening Skynet robot. Perfect for cool selfies.

< Click on the images to enlarge >

Small but interesting

The Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum may not reflect the size of the man’s many careers, and it takes about 1 – 1.5 hours to have a good look at the museum while listening to the audio guide. However, even for those who are not his greatest fans, it may be interesting to see how he “worked out” from humble existence in a small Austrian village and became a Hollywood superstar who also served as the 38th governor of California between 2003 and 2011 (US state with 38 million inhabitants and the world’s 8th largest economy). Arnold has supported and contributed numerous artefacts to the museum since its opening and has visited several times.


Idyllic Thal

You find the former childhood home and the museum in a lovely valley just west of Graz in a small village called Thal. Arnold Schwarzenegger lived in this house, which was built in 1806 and originally was the house of Count Herberstein and Eggenberg’s park ranger, from his birth in 1947 to 1966. Thal is a community with 2400 inhabitants, and Arnold’s father worked here as a police officer. In the village’s vicinity is a small lake, Thalersee, where you can wander on the so-called “Arnold Schwarzenegger Wanderweg”. Choose between three routes of 3.5km, 9.5km, or 13.5km, respectively. There is a nice restaurant by the lake as well.

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Written by Arnold Weisz

Globetrotting multilingual communications specialist born in Vienna, Austria – with passion for scuba diving, golf and culinary delights! 15 years of experience as a scuba- and travel reporter for among others: X-Ray Dive Magazine and Dykking.