Natural History Museum - Bern - details and images

The Natural History Museum of Bern is a museum in Bern, Switzerland. In its teaching and research it cooperates closely with the University of Bern.[1] It is visited by around 100,000 people yearly.

The museum is owned by the Bürgergemeinde (Citizen's Community) of Bern. It was officially founded in 1832.It is located on Bernastrasse, in the Kirchenfeld quarter, in a building erected between 1932 and 1934, opened in 1936 and expanded several times since then. Previously the exhibits were kept in a building on Hodlerstrasse built from 1878-81 and demolished in 1936; and earlier still, in the library gallery of a former college building.

The Natural History Museum is known for its set of over 220 life-sized dioramas, featuring preserved animals from Switzerland, Africa and Asia; it also owns a collection of minerals from the Alpine region, samples of gold discovered at various locations in Switzerland, meteorites, a large stock of invertebrates, and Switzerland's largest collection of animal skeletons and bones.

The dioramas originate from a collection of big game animals from Africa, bagged by the London-based Bernese painter and game hunter Bernhard von Wattenwyl (together with his daughter Vivienne) during an expedition in 1923-24.[1] A total of 130 of these animals are on display, in 33 dioramas along two darkened corridors. The dioramas are designed and furnished according to the animals' natural habitat.
There is a further section displaying native birds and mammals, with over 600 animals in 164 dioramas. This section was previously on display in the Heimatmuseum, opened around the outbreak of World War II.
The upper basement contains five dioramas of Asian animals threatened with extinction: Snow Leopards, orangutans, Giant Pandas, Indian Rhinoceroses, and tigers.
A fourth section called "Nordic Animals" features stuffed bears, muskoxen, seals, moose and birds, in nine dioramas containing 66 individual animals.
One of the museum's biggest attractions is the stuffed hide of Barry the St. Bernard, who is said to have saved the lives of over 40 people.

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