Long Night of the Museums – A Somewhat Different Saturday Night Out in Zurich

by Guest Post on September 24, 2011


Long Night of the Museums – A Somewhat Different Saturday Night Out in Zurich

[caption id="attachment_575" align="aligncenter" width="300"] 'Autumn', by Franz Gertsch - Displayed as part of the 'Seasons' exhibition at the Museum for Modern Art in Zurich[/caption]


On Saturday 3rd September 2011 Zurich hosted the Long Night of the Museums once again. With Zurich’s first long night having taken place in 1999, this cultural event reoccurs on an annual basis and is proving more popular than ever. This year’s theme ’wild!’, attracted hundreds of visitors.


The Long Night of the Museums invites people of all ages to indulge into Zurich’s cultural (night) life. For CHF 25.- visitors can purchase a ticket granting them entrance to all of the 36 open museums. Organised shuttle busses in addition to regular public transport allow smooth and comfortable transfers from one museum to the next. Visitors who feel more active also have the possibility to hire bicycles free of charge from the various hiring stations throughout Zurich.


First step of this year’s long night visit was to purchase the ticket. Riding into town on the Forchbahn meant that the Tram Museum in Burgwies was closest – so why not make the most of it and start at 19:00 on the dot (we are in Switzerland after all...). After purchasing the ticket (which can be pre-ordered or bought at the door at any of the 36 museums) we were ready to travel back in time. On exhibition: A variety of old trams used in Zurich over the last century. Some older, some ancient! The complete wooden tram interiors and lack of cushioning

or state-of-the-art facilities may cause confusion as to whether you are in a tram or in a carved out tree... The plaque of the 50 Rappen fine – as opposed to today’s sticker of the 80 Franc fine – for travelling without a valid ticket may cause one to calculate the savings potential one may have had when travelling without a valid ticket. Everybody using public transport in the Zurich region must have come across the famous rules sticker featuring dubious characters smoking in fellow commuters’ faces, chain saw vandals and the all so prominent (formerly Mexican) guitar player. To my surprise one of the trams in the museum still featured the edition with the controversial Mexican hat guitar player. At that stage I considered phoning the Mexican Embassy to report racism but decided to move on instead... As we leave the museum after almost an hour, we leave behind the smell of the 1950s and return into the world of inflation – where the price of an import pint must have increased to CHF 9.50 by now.


Next on the list was the Muhlerama. The museum features an almost 100-year-old mill factory. The highlight of this visit had to be the old wooden slide. After spiralling down on a grain sack from the top of the factory, we moved on to the Zoological and the Paleontological Museum where we were met by creatures of all sorts. The rain decided to join us, making the Zurich Toy Museum – our next stop – a very welcome one. Located close to Rennweg between Bahnhofstrasse and the Limmatquai, we found this museum at the very top of one of Zurich’s oldest buildings. Featuring European toys fromthe beginning of the 18th and up to the 20th century, steam engine locomotives and teddy bears seemed to be what children of that time enjoyed playing with most. A presentation of the history of a toy company rounded our stay at the Zurich Toy Museum off. Midnight. Time to move on.


Since the weather was not on our side we opted to stop at the Museum of Design Zurich next. The High Rise – Idea and Reality exhibition on the ground floor featured various works of today’s highest monuments and buildings around the globe. Almost half of the world’s tallest buildings were erected over the past decade – a truly fascinating exhibition. Swiss artist Francois Berthoud featured his work in the upper floor of the museum. Trying to understand his fascination for shoes I warmed more towards his fascination for beautiful women.


It got well past midnight and our final stop was the all so prominent Museum for Modern Art in Zurich (German: Kunsthaus). The exhibition ’Seasons’ by Swiss contemporary artist Franz Gertsch offered a retrospective of Gertsch’s works between 1983 and 2011. The works ’Spring’, ’Summer’, ’Autumn’ and ’Winter’ were painted off photographs. Nonetheless they leave you stunning and contemplating, to which season you relate most to.


And so it got 03:00 – just in time to catch the night train home. The Long Night of the Museums offers an enjoyable and quality night out, packed with culture and difference to the conventional Saturday night in town. And even with this year’s British-like weather, good company and a list of 36 museums to work through means there’s never a dull moment at the Long Night of the Museums.

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