Lausanne and museums
The City of Lausanne, capital of the Vaud Canton, is home not only to lots of museums of its own, but also nearly twenty Cantonal and private museums.
Lausanne: a museum town, no, a city of museums, yes!
By Gian Pozzy
Among the four local council-run museums, one of the most original is the famous Collection de l’Art Brut, which has around 30,000 works by 500 artists. It takes its name from the 1971 donation of Jean Dubuffet’s collection, which included 4000 works. The museum is housed in a beautiful 18th century mansion, the Château de Beaulieu. More than 40,000 people visited the museum in 2006.
The heir of the Museum of Decorative Arts, the mudac (Musée de Design et D’Arts Appliqués Contemporains) is also located in an historic building, the Maison Gaudard. It is intended to be a place of exchange between design, the applied arts and contemporary art.
With three major themed exhibitions and five more monographic exhibitions each year, the mudac loves to surprise, to challenge, to engage and often to entertain.
From Lousonna to Lausanne, from the lake to the City
Near the mudac is the Lausanne Historical Museum, which seeks to tell the story of the city, from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. It achieves this notably through a monumental model of the City, built with the help of an accurate map from 1638. Among its permanent exhibitions are a history of Lausanne from its beginning until 1900, a collection of eighty old musical instruments, and a collection of pieces of 18th century Lausanne silverware.
The Lausanne-Vidy Roman Museum tells us about the ancient Gallo-Roman Lousonna, founded in the 1st century B.C., which stood at its strategic position on the shores of Lake Geneva, ensuring lake and river trade between the Rhône and the Rhine basins.
The museum also includes a magnificent archaeological walking route.
One of Lausanne’s most unusual buildings, the Palais de Rumine with its Florentine architecture, houses several Cantonal museums. The first is the Museum of Fine Art, whose collections mainly include works by four Vaud artists: Louis Ducros, Charles Gleyre, Félix Vallotton and Louis Soutter. This is also the location for the Museum of Archaeology and History (covering 15,000 years of Vaud’s history!), the Cantonal Museum of Zoology, the Cantonal Geology Museum and the Cantonal Money Museum.
The list goes on...
The Olympic Museum describes how the Baron de Coubertin established the headquarters for the IOC in Lausanne in 1915. Opened in 1993, it honours the modern Olympic spirit: bringing together sports, art and culture. Using cutting edge technology, this is a living museum that is both interactive and highly educational.
Another interesting location is the Elysée Photography Museum, founded in 1985, whose eight rooms present temporary exhibitions of the works of the greatest contemporary photographers. It also houses 100,000 original photographs from the 19th and 20th centuries.
This list is not complete without mentioning the beautiful residence of the Fondation de l’Hermitage, with its collection of paintings, sculptures and engravings; the Vivarium, created through a private initiative by a passionate herpetologist; the original Museum of the Hand, created through the will and perseverance of Professor Verdan, a renowned specialist in reconstructive surgery; as well as the cantonal museums and botanical gardens. The list goes on…
Service de la culture
Place de la Palud
Hôtel de Ville
Case postale 6904
Phone +41 21 315 25 25
Fax +41 21 315 20 30
tl: Saint-François, Bel-Air
m1: Lausanne-Flon; m2: Riponne-M. Béjart