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From archives to houses of the present

Two visitors working on a huge “paint by numbers” mountain landscape in the Swiss Alpine Museum. © Herbert Schweizer

Alpine museums are about more than just wooden skis, farmhouse trunks and old photos. They preserve, exhort or inspire us – and thus have a vital role in society.

There are over 50 museums in the Alps that are dedicated to stories, peculiarities and matters that regard the Alps: from small local museums and museums run by Alpine clubs, to national institutions such as the Swiss Alpine Museum in Berne. The latter has experienced turbulent times of late: after the Federal Office for Culture announced drastic budget cuts in summer 2017, the museum was threatened with closure. Thanks to the efforts of over 16,000 supporters, the Swiss Parliament approved a budget increase at the end of 2018.

Difficult times also mean opportunities. Director of the Alpine Museum Beat Hächler and his team have recognised this. “We are a house of the present”, he notes. “We are interested in the topics that concern people today.” These include the fascination of mountain landscapes as well as climate change, second homes and seasonal jobs in ski resorts.

Interactive exhibitions

The Slovenian Alpine Museum was opened in Mojstrana in 2010. It is a young establishment and it wants to stay that way, as museum director Irena Lačen Benedičič explains: “Visitors should not just pass through, but also join in.” A trip to the museum is combined with a game: those who manage to solve five tasks to do with mountain sports will receive a small prize. There is also an old bivouac to add to the entertainment: after many years up in the Slovenian Alps, it can today be found in the museum’s garden and is used for the “Escape Room” game.

 

Sources and further information:

www.alpinesmuseum.ch/en, http://rettungsaktion.alpinesmuseum.ch/#rettungsaktion.alpinesmuseum.ch (de, fr, it),

www.bernerzeitung.ch/region/bern/das-alpine-museum-ist-vorerst-gerettet/story/28584058 (de),

www.planinskimuzej.si/en/, www.alpenverein.de/Kultur/Museum (de),

www.alpenverein.at/portal/museum-archiv/index.php (de),

www.chamonix.com/musee-alpin,49-187321,de.html (fr),

www.messner-mountain-museum.it/en/ (en),

www.fortedibard.it/musei/museo-delle-alpi (it)