By Bill Harby
Winter weather is the perfect time for families to explore Switzerland’s fine museums. Some suggestions:
Swiss Museum of Transport
No wonder this is the most-visited museum in Switzerland with its hands-on exhibits showing the history and future of Swiss transport on railways, highways, waterways and skyways. Don’t tell your kids about the airplane and helicopter flight simulators or you might never see them again. Click for more.
The Swiss Children’s Museum
Just outside the city of Zürich, the museum has 20 rooms devoted to displays about children. Their lives from past days are revealed with antique toys – a red leather school bag, a chemistry set, an electric train, a doll’s house and much more. A child’s life today is mirrored in inter-active games and science discovery exhibits. Kids can also sign up for hands-on crafts and other workshops. This is an especially fun outing for grandparents and grandkids to share their childhoods. Click for more.
Why do so many kids have a seemingly genetic fascination with dinosaurs? A visit to the Aathal Dinosaur Museum may help us better understand as we watch the scampering little ones (children, not dinosaurs), inspecting fossils and huge skeletal reconstructions, learning about the evolution of our planet from the displays and the staff. Group tours in English can be reserved in advance. Click for more.
Basel Paper Mill, the Swiss Museum for Paper, Writing and Printing
This small “working museum” devoted to paper-making, printing and early writing methods offers workshops where children get to make paper using traditional methods that go back to the Middle Ages. Visitors also get to see old printing presses clicking and clacking as the aroma of printer’s ink fills the room. Click for more.
The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMCO) has occasional art-making sessions for kids in French and English. Other days, families will find the always surprising rotating exhibits either exciting, inspiring, challenging or utterly boring. Click for more.
These five suggested museums are just the tip of the iceberg throughout Switzerland. Here’s a larger list. Click for more.
Various cities also feature “Museums at Night” programs at different times of the year. What is it about exploring a museum after hours? Is it true the exhibits come alive? Click for more.
If you and your family love museums you might want to invest in the Museums Pass, which provides entry to 320 museums in Switzerland, Germany and France. Click for more.