Museums in Switzerland
My favorite museum in Switzerland is the National Transport Museum. There is
so much to see and do. Here is more from their web page. Click HERE
to go there directly for the most recent details.
The next best museum for me in Switzerland is the Communication
Bern. I have visited there may times, anxious to see stamps from early
Switzerland that I will only see in a museum. And they have them, for sure.
Here is a glimpse:
500,000 Stamps - 500,000 Stories
The postage stamp is a basic commodity. It is stuck on postcards, love
letters and gift packages, on complaint letters, order forms and job
applications. That's all we know about it.
The postage stamp is also a collector's
item. It is examined under the magnifying glass, sorted, compared,
classified and presented. It can arouse passions and become a valuable
The postage stamp is a message and an image.
The image of an era, a culture, a society. Images want to be looked at,
messages deciphered. We will show you our treasures - and the variety of
stamps worldwide. Come and discover, interpret and examine the fascinating
visual language of stamps in the largest stamp collection in the world.
"Basle Pigeon" Basle 1845
"The Dove", Switzerland 1996
Thanks to an intensive collecting activity our museum owns the largest
and most valuable collection of Swiss postage stamps in the world (Zurich
4 and 6, Double Geneva, Basle Pigeon, stamps from the transition period,
Rayon stamps, the different editions of the sitting and standing Helvetia,
hotel stamps, etc.). The museum also possesses important holdings in
international philately: Great Britain (Penny Black), old Italy, old USA,
Russia, Belgium and Albania.
Different thematic holdings provide a worldwide view of the history of
post and philately: balloon post, Zeppelin post, airmail, rocket mail,
telegraphy and express mail. Traditional philately is supplemented by
collections on individual regions of Switzerland or by national themes. To
mention just a few: "The Post in Appenzell Land", Postmarks from
Inner Switzerland", "Boy Scouts in Switzerland",
"Swiss National Exhibition".
The traditional philately holdings are made up of the museum's own
objects and over 40 donations. A large part of these are exhibited in the
study collection, the rest is stored in the archive. It can however be
consulted for research purposes after prior arrangement.
Contact: Jean-Claude Lavanchy, Curator for traditional philately: firstname.lastname@example.org
First Swiss Stamp
"Zurich 4" (1843)
Postage stamp of the provisional government of Epirus (Albania), February
Postage Stamp with the Swiss National Exhibition in Geneva (1896)
The collection holds all postage stamps
published in Switzerland since 1907 without exception. The spectrum ranges
from permanent and special stamps to Pro Juventute, Pro Patria, and
airmail stamps to post-paid seals, strip bands and roll stamps. All
respective varieties of postage stamps (colour, paper, rubber) are
collected, and whenever possible all deviations and printing errors too.
Our holdings also include further philatelic accompanying products such as
premier letters, collector's sheets, annual albums, stamp notebooks and a
large number of different kinds of postmark impressions and stationery
(envelopes, postcards, card letters, etc.)
In addition the museum also holds
preliminary studies, preliminary drafts, colour and lettering studies,
original designs by artists and printing proofs of stamps and numerous
official postcards. Thanks to these documents the individual phases in the
design of a new postage stamp can be traced. At present the period from
1900 to 1959 is completely covered. The holdings are periodically
supplemented by contributions from the "Postage Stamps and
Philately" business area of the Swiss Post.
Currently we are building up the collection
of Everyday Post. Interest here is concentrated not exclusively on select
philatelic pieces. Instead, the appearance of "normal" letters
should serve as a contemporary document illustrating social developments.
Contact: lic. phil. Ulrich Schenk, Curator
Modern Swiss Philately : email@example.com
Business letter from Chocolat Lindt with block of four of Tell's Son 5
Letter with 12 vending machine stamps 5 pence, 1999
Modern Foreign Countries
Composed of more than 500'000 stamps from all
over the world, this collection is one of the largest that has ever been
opened to the public. Through these stamps it’s possible to witness the
history of every country on earth. The largest part of the collection is
presented in special drawers, the rest can be viewed in the archive.
Whether in the European countries or on the
continents of Africa, America and Asia – through their iconography the
history of stamps mirrors the many cultural aspects and treasures of our
universe. The most important events of each year are recorded on the
stamps: tributes to statesmen, world-championships in football,
commemorations of works of art, even milestones like Chernobyl or AIDS.
The spirit of the ages becomes astonishingly obvious when studying the
development and choice of themes of these miniature pieces of art.
In the philately-section the Museum of
Communication continues its general emphasis on contemporary history and
themes by collecting all the stamps that are issued worldwide (as far as
possible). It thereby pursues its aim to reflect upon cultural changes
that present new challenges for the present and the future.
The philatelic specialist literature together with the stamp and
auction catalogues form the basis of the philately library. This is
supplemented by extensive holdings of philatelic journals and newsletters
from philatelic associations. The main emphasis is on Switzerland, the
bordering countries as well as on other selected countries.
A special section is devoted to the airmail archive donated by Dr.
Robert Paganini. It was augmented by Prof. Robert Gsell's estate on flight
and aviation technology.
The library is open to the public with the applicable lending
regulations. Your written enquiries will gladly be accepted. Documents
which cannot be lent because of conservation reasons can be looked at in
the reading room, open every Wednesday from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Contact: Jean-Claude Lavanchy, Curator for traditional philately: firstname.lastname@example.org
Illustrated Postage Stamp Journal" 11th edition, Leipzig 1884
Ralph Simmonds: All About Aircraft, London 1925
Senf Brothers' Illustrated Postage Stamp Catalogue, 1st edition, Leipzig
Most of Bern’s museums are clustered together
around Helvetiaplatz, on the south side of the Kirchenfeldbrücke.
Some, like the Bernisches Historisches Museum, shouldn’t really be
missed; others have less going for them. Trams #3 (direction Saali) and
#5 (direction Ostring) shuttle from the train station and the Zytglogge
Bernisches Historisches Museum
You could spend a long time exploring the fascinating Bernisches
Historisches Museum (Bernese Historical Museum; Tues–Sun
10am–5pm; Fr.5, free on Sat; SMP), a grandiose turreted castle
purpose-built in 1894. With seven floors of diverse bits and pieces,
it’s a good idea to pick up a floor plan before you start. Information
is generally very good, with the scholarly German labelling nearly
always given in English and French translation in leaflets kept in wall
The ground floor is given over to temporary
exhibitions, which tend not to have English explanations, and it’s
worth heading straight down to the basement (taking in, if you’ve
time, the extensive porcelain and silver collection on the lower
mezzanine on the way). At the bottom, to the left side of the staircase,
is perhaps the highlight of the whole museum, a collection of
extraordinary and macabre paintings showing “The Dance of Death”;
these are 1649 copies of originals painted in 1516–17 on the wall of
Bern’s Dominican monastery and now lost. The sequence of 24 vivid
images, showing a hideously grinning and fooling skeleton leading kings,
prostitutes, nuns and lawyers alike to their inevitable fate, is enough
to send a chill down your spine – as, no doubt, it was intended to.
Equally impressive is the pillared room directly opposite, filled with
the original sandstone figures from the Last Judgement portal of
the Münster and fascinating for the chance to view their details up
close. Through in another part of the basement are several rooms
featuring rural and urban interiors from the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries, reconstructed down to the chamber pots and creaky floors.
From the ground floor all the way up the main
staircase is a series of rather unflattering portraits of 280
Swiss peasants and craftspeople in traditional dress, made late in the
eighteenth century as a kind of ethnographic record. The mezzanine is
devoted to a spectacular Islamic collection, with daggers galore,
a mounted Turkestan warrior in full armour, jewellery, ceramics and a
reconstructed Persian sitting room. Stairs to the first upper floor
bring you to an intricate scale model of Bern in 1800 (made in
1850). Nearby in the same room, for some unknown reason, sits a bust of
Brigitte Bardot. Halls left and right display extremely impressive
wall-sized medieval Flemish tapestries; the Burgundian Hall holds
the Caesar Tapestries, telling the story of Caesar’s life in
Burgundian-style dress, and, highlight of the collection, the Thousand
Flowers Tapestry, the only one surviving of a set of eight made in
Brussels in 1466, which was looted by Bern during the Burgundian wars of
1474–77. Rooms further on with coins and medals include a mesmerising
1828 three-way portrait of Calvin, Luther and Zwingli. On the other side
of the stairs is the Trajan Hall, with suits of armour, weapons,
cavalry standards and heraldic tapestries galore.
The second upper floor features more military
uniforms from different periods, and a series of overwhelmingly
meticulous rooms devoted to “Changes in Daily Life”, covering
everything from reconstructed shops and schoolrooms from different
periods to ephemera, old vending machines and musical instruments. The
top floor has a small archeological collection, and above is a
belvedere offering bird’s-eye views of the Bundeshaus and the Alps.
Schweizerisches Alpines Museum
Beside the Historical Museum, the Schweizerisches Alpines Museum
(Swiss Alpine Museum; May–Oct Mon 2–5pm, Tues–Sun 10am–5pm;
Nov–April Mon 2–5pm, Tues–Sun 10am–noon & 2–5pm; Fr.5; SMP)
is surprisingly good, taking an intelligent, sensitive look at all
aspects of life in the mountains, from tourism, the history of
mountaineering and the social identity of mountain dwellers to surveys
of Alpine flora and fauna and the impact of industry on the mountain
environment. There’s plenty to play with and read up on (in English).
Crowded all over the museum are dozens of examples of relief mapmaking
gone berserk, with mountains, whole valley systems and complete Swiss
ranges rendered in perfect scale detail, almost rock by rock, by
enthusiasts whose energy and patience can only be imagined.
There are plenty of other museums on or very close to Helvetiaplatz. The
porticoed Kunsthalle (Art Gallery; Helvetiaplatz 1; Tues
10am–9pm, Wed–Sun 10am–5pm; Fr.6) has changing exhibits of
contemporary art, usually of very high quality. Behind the Historisches
Museum, the Naturhistorisches Museum (Natural History Museum;
Bernastrasse 15; Mon 2–5pm, Tues, Thurs & Fri 9am–5pm, Wed
9am–8pm, Sat & Sun 10am–5pm; Fr.5; SMP) has the largest diorama
exhibit in Europe – a somewhat fancy way to describe an array of
stuffed animals behind glass, including a rather threadbare “Barry”,
the famous St Bernard mountain-rescue dog. Its mineralogical displays
are more engaging, with meteorites and cut diamonds, but they’re scant
recompense for fighting the tide of schoolkids. The Museum für
Kommunikation (Helvetiastrasse 16; Tues–Sun 10am–5pm; Fr.5; SMP)
surveys media and communication from postage-stamps and early telephones
to the Internet and beyond.
Follow these text ads depending on your interest.
Winterthur. Photography. (In German.)
Luzern. Museum of Fine Arts, Lucerne. (Also in
Museum of Fine
Arts, Basel. Part of the Öffentliche
Kunstsammlung, the oldest public museum of the world! (In English
World Art Treasures,
Foundation, Lausanne and EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology).
Presents a number of developing on-line exhibits of art from Egypt, China,
Italy, etc. (Also in French.)
Art, Culture and Museums. (In German,
English and French.)
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