Barry, the legendary St. Bernard, is probably the museum’s most famous exhibit. The loyal rescue dog lived over 200 years ago in a hospice on the Great St. Bernard Pass and was involved in many mountain rescues. In 2014, Barry’s heroic acts were honored with his own permanent exhibition – including a golden display cabinet.
Historical Animal Diorama
The museum displays an exciting selection of mammals and birds in their natural habitats using around 220 artistically designed showcases. The attractive exhibition takes the audience along on a journey through Africa, Asia, Alaska and the Swiss Alps. From lions, gorillas and gazelles to ibexes, Alpine ptarmigans and little owls and on to polar bears and seals, this is a place where you can admire and enjoy everything that flies, creeps, swims and walks.
The colorful diversity of the invertebrates amazes young and old visitors alike; beautiful beetles lie beside iridescent butterflies, with rare shells next to exotic snails and fossils from ancient times. In addition to the four-legged hero, Barry, and the African large animal diorama, the bone display with a 23-meter-long fin whale skeleton is another important centerpiece at the museum.
Pictures, graphics, photo documentations, sound samples, animation and light shows complement the multifaceted exhibition and enable visitors of all ages to experience the display. By the way, children can explore the exhibition spaces on their own. The museum provides families with a free discovery suitcase. Filled with tricky riddles, suitable matching games and specimens that can be prodded and poked, it transforms a museum visit into a fun scientific experience.
The versatile Discovery Corner on the second floor is ideal for older children, as is the Geo Lab with binoculars, rock samples and experiment boxes on the level above.
Meteorites, Giant Crystals and Diamonds
The basement level introduces visitors to a tremendous collection of minerals. The impressive and sensationally clear giant crystals from the Planggenstock mountain never fail to attract attention. Discovered in 2005 by two rock crystal hunters, Franz von Arx and Paul von Känel, today they sparkle and shine in the “Treasure Chamber” of the Natural History Museum. The crowning jewel of the exhibition is the uniquely structured, 300-kilogram group of crystals, which slowly revolves around its own axis.
Special Exhibitions, Events and Tours at the Natural History Museum
In addition to its numerous highlights from the animal kingdom and the mineral collection, this museum belonging to the Burgergemeinde Bern attracts visitors with a wide variety of contemporary special exhibitions and multifaceted events with the motto: “Help, it’s alive”.
The “Behind the Scenes” museum tour is given on the first Wednesday evening and Thursday afternoon of the month.
“T-Rex – Have We Met?”
The impressive T-Rex exhibition on loan from the Natural History Museum in London will be in Bern from 14 September 2019 until 22 March 2020. The unique and world’s first true-to-life model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, which comes to life thanks to animatronics, forms the centerpiece of this exhibition. Further elements such as movable models of dinosaurs and life-size skeletons will astound young and old visitors alike.
All you need to know
“5 Stars” – Sensational Fossil Find from the Jura
A unique treasure trove of fossils is accessible to the public here. A recent discovery of 170-million-year-old echinodern fossils in the Bernese Jura is on display until 13 September 2020. The highlight of the exhibition is a stone slab with its own population of sea urchins, star fish, brittle stars, crinoids and sea cucumbers. Their extraordinarily good state of preservation transforms these fossils into something quite special.
More information about the tours
The End of the World
Tales about the end of the world are as old as the hills and also extremely current. They are reinvented constantly. At the same time, the threat to humans and nature is real and omnipresent. Planet Earth and its inhabitants’ biospheres have always been threatened by constant danger from natural disasters and human-made catastrophes, which in turn has spurred on humanity’s innovative power. The “End of the World” exhibition, in which natural and cultural scientific perspectives meet, runs until 2020.
More information here
“Hello darkness, my old friend”, Installation by huber.huber
Artist duo huber.huber designed the seventh and final room of the exhibition as part of the “End of the World” temporary exhibition. Taking the form of a brief final scene, the memorable installation shows the two artists interpreting the end of the world in unconventional and poetic ways over one entire year. The line “Hello darkness, my old friend” from the song “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel provided the inspiration. The artistic work by huber.huber in room 7 will be around until the end of December 2019. More information can be found here.
“End of the World” Adventure Room
Right in keeping with the themed exhibition of the same name, the Natural History Museum is offering an “End of the World” real-life escape game. The goal of this game, now popular around the world, is for you and your team to use your wits and intelligence to free yourselves from a locked room within one hour by solving puzzles and riddles.
More about the nerve-racking, nail-biting group event
Monday 2:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Wednesday 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Permanent exhibitions Adults CHF 10.00 Students, AHV/IV pensioners, groups of 10 or more CHF 8.00 Members of the Natural History Museum Association CHF 2.00 Kids and youth (16 years & under), schools free