Museum of Communication
You won’t find any “No touching” signs here: At the Museum of Communication, visitors are allowed, even encouraged, to try out and interact with the objects! Making communication accessible in an innovative, participatory, and playful way – that’s the institution’s motto, and it’s also the reason why the museum was awarded the 2019 Council of Europe Museum Prize.
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“Lights, camera, action!” You will feel as if you were in a movie studio when you reach the station “Movie Karaoke” and start re-enacting a scene from “Lord of the Rings”. A bit of stage fright, a hint of movie star – everyone loves the spotlight! It comes as no surprise that “Movie Karaoke” is a favourite at the Museum for Communication, a museum that is known for its fun exhibitions.
SUPER – the second Creation
Biotechnology, artificial intelligence and digitization have led to unprecedented opportunities. Ever more powerful tools and possibilities that influence and shape our lives are developing at an amazing speed. Using a novel educational format, the museum has launched an emotional examination of the subject of self-optimizing and reinventing. The exhibition is being shown for the first time in Switzerland and can be visited from 6 November 2020 to 11 July 2021.
To the exhibition
Zentrum Paul Klee
The building by architect Renzo Piano alone is worth a visit, but great architecture is by far not the only thing the Zentrum Paul Klee has to offer! It houses the most important Paul Klee collection in the world, showcased in changing exhibitions. And the children’s museum Creaviva has interactive exhibitions to give the youngest visitors a fun approach to art.
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At the very back of the Zentrum Paul Klee, below the third arch of the Renzo Piano building, you’ll find a colourful, interactive installation by Swiss artist couple Sabina Lang and Daniel Baumann. You don’t need a ticket, every visitor is welcome to move around inside, outside and on top of the installation, to read, listen, climb, watch, chat or just relax and enjoy.
Paul Klee. People among themselves
It is not unusual for people to comment "any child can do that" regarding Paul Klee’s works. This exhibition tries to counteract this perception. It shows the social and political plains hidden behind his art with imaginative irony. The works of art convey Klee’s idea of being able to take on a "supernatural" perspective and seeing humans as alien species yet to be investigated. Matching video productions by the Bernese dance group "BewegGrund" will be shown, in which the dancers with and without disabilities interact with Paul Klee’s works.
Bern’s world-famous museum of fine arts, with its works by artists ranging from Picasso to Hodler to Oppenheim, is also one of Switzerland’s oldest art museums. Whether you’re there for the classics or for a special exhibition – at the Kunstmuseum Bern, art fans are sure to get their money’s worth.
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Adolf Wölfli (1864–1930) probably didn’t think that his drawings would someday be hanging on a museum wall. Wölfli grew up as a servant and farm hand in the Emmental region and eventually landed in the Waldau mental institution, where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. In his cell, he filled thousands of pages with drawings, patterns, words and musical notes, creating his own universe. Today, his drawings and collages are collector’s items, exhibited all over the world. They are a highlight at the Kunstmuseum Bern, where they are looked after by the Adolf Wölfli Foundation and shown year-round in different exhibitions.
Works from the collection
The Kunstmuseum Bern owns important collections of European art from the late Middle Ages to the present, with artists ranging from van Gogh to Pablo Picasso to Meret Oppenheim. In the basement of Switzerland’s oldest museum of fine arts, visitors can contemplate Cubism, Expressionism, Surrealism and abstract art. The highlights of the exhibition include Picasso’s “Un violon accroché au mur” and Max Ernst’s “Wald und Sonne”. Also exhibited are works by famous Bernese artists such as Ferdinand Hodler, Paul Klee, and Albert Anker.
The Swiss Alpine Museum’s focus are all things mountains. In addition to the historic collection, exhibitions touch on current issues such as climate change, tourism, identity, mobility, and spatial development. Active participation is welcome!
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This is a hands-on museum: 1,500 kilograms of wood are waiting to be chopped and turned into shingles. Visitors are encouraged to participate and help shingle parts of the museum in the same traditional way that Swiss alpine huts have been shingled for centuries.
Let’s talk about mountains
What comes to your mind when you think of North Korea? A film team from the Swiss Alpine Museum toured the mountainous peninsula in 2018/19, where they climbed summits, visited schools, watched artists at work, and stopped at the largest Korean ski resort. The short stories captured on film show an everyday existence that you won’t see on the news. Forty interviews give a voice to people who are at risk of disappearing behind the political system and our image of them.
Bern Historical Museum
One could easily mistake the Bern Historical Museum for a castle. However, the impressive building on Helvetiaplatz (Helvetia Square) with its ornate oriels doesn’t house a princess, but rather one of Switzerland’s most important museums of cultural history. In permanent as well as temporary exhibitions, the museum focuses on historical issues that are still relevant to the world today.
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The Belvedere Tower Room sits enthroned above the 3rd floor of the museum and offers a fairy-tale view that leads from the snow-white alpine panorama in the Southeast over the Rose Garden and the Bernese Minster to the Parliament Building. But don't worry: unlike Rapunzel, you can easily leave the tower via the spiral staircase.
The Bern Historical Museum is telling the story of an invention that has been around for thousands of years – money. However, the focus is not only on its development, numbers and statistics, but rather its related emotional issues: How often do we think about money? How strong is our confidence in our monetary system? What does the future look like as the digitalisation of money continues? And how are we going to deal with the ever-increasing global imbalance? This exhibition provides both answers and an opportunity for stimulating debate. To facilitate this, a bar with “money hosts” has even been set up in front of the exhibition. In addition, rapper Tommy Vercetti – who is currently researching the topic of money at the Bern Academy of the Arts – will speak with a rotating cast of guests on Wednesday evenings from 16 March to 4 May as part of the “Money Talks”.
The Samurai Legend
“The Samurai Legend” temporary exhibition is a new highlight at the Bern Historical Museum. The ethos and impressive aesthetics of these legendary warriors cast a compelling spell on visitors. You can marvel at the meticulous details of their armour, helmets, spectacular masks and weapons – and even touch and try them on! A virtual reality game also allows you to wield the swords yourself. The exhibition covers the beginnings of the samurai warrior tradition through to the momentous reign of the “nobility of the sword” and samurai influences found in modern pop culture today. The story of a princess accompanies you throughout the exhibition, conveying the philosophy and values of the samurai and introducing you to the fascinating world of Japan. If you’re not already a fan of the Far East and its culture, you certainly will be after visiting this exhibition.
Off to Japan
Natural History Museum Bern
Every child in Bern knows the Museum of Natural History with the golden elephant on its roof. Inside, you will find everything from taxidermy of native and African animals to an impressive collection of giant crystals to the huge skeleton of a finback whale. The museum’s exciting and diverse collection has turned many a rainy day in Bern into a little adventure.
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Barry, the legendary Saint Bernard, is probably the museum’s most famous object. The loyal rescue dog lived over 200 years ago in a hospice on the Great St Bernard Pass, almost 2,500 metres above sea level. Crossing the alpine pass was extremely dangerous at the time, and countless people were buried alive by rocks or avalanches or got lost in snowstorms. Thankfully, Barry was there to help! He was involved in the rescue missions and is said to have saved the lives of 40 people. Barry became a Swiss legend and, in 2014, was awarded a permanent exhibition in his honour – including a golden display.
A recommendation from Bernese local Tatjana: The Natural History Museum Bern is showing the special exhibition “Queer – Diversity is in our nature”. Everyone should take the time to go and see it - “many people will find it eye-opening!” In nature, we don’t only have male and female, but a large spectrum of genders and sexual orientations. This well-done exhibition informs and fosters understanding. What an excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon!
The Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) honours the Natural History Museum’s very avant-garde exhibition with the Prix Expo 2021. The subject is highly topical and concerns all of society. The museum addresses a social issue in an intelligent, relevant and sensitive manner. The brilliant linking of biological and social aspects is extremely convincing.
Due to the continued public interest and the award, the exhibition will be extended until 19 March 2023.
This unique museum is part of the Bernisches Historisches Museum and houses one of the world’s largest Albert Einstein collections. The famous physicist spent seven years of his life in Bern, and what he came up with here became world-famous: the theory of relativity. The interesting exhibition presents to the visitors the genius, physicist, husband and father that was Albert Einstein and shows his life and work in the context of world history.
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You should take a close look at one of the large photographs on the wall. It was taken in the 1890s and shows little Albert’s class at his school in Munich, where his family was living at the time. All of his classmates are making serious faces, as was common and decent at the time. But there’s one boy who’s smiling at the camera: young Einstein. He probably already enjoyed challenging the authorities, even at his young age – at least that’s what his witty expression suggests.
Where art history was made: legendary director Harald Szeemann made this art museum world-famous by letting it be the first building that was covered by artist Christo. It has been and still is an important platform for contemporary art and a mecca for art fans.
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Initially, the bar Module #5 next to the main building was a temporary gift on the occasion of the museum’s 100-year anniversary. But the locals fell in love with the artistic building by Swiss couple Lang/Baumann with its romantic view of Bern’s Old City and the delicious drinks, so the bar will remain until at least 2021. In the warmer months (May to October), all of Bern gathers here for drinks.
During his time in Bern, Albert Einstein developed one of the most important and famous theories in the history of physics: the theory of relativity. The physicist is still present all over the city, but nowhere will you be able to get closer to the great scientist than at the Einstein House at 49 Kramgasse.
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When Einstein was living in Bern, he wasn’t working at the university as a renowned professor, no – he had a very boring, low-salary job at the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, testing the patents to see if they were functional. He called it being a «third-class ink shitter». But the job meant a stable monthly income, which allowed him to bring his fiancée Mileva Maric to Bern and finally get married.