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Swiss Museum of Transport opens ‘Experience Energy!’ exhibition in its new ‘House of Energy’


Mobility is one of humanity’s basic needs – and without energy it just isn’t possible. With the opening of the newly built ‘House of Energy’, the Swiss Museum of Transport is taking up this topic from a range of perspectives: it is becoming a platform for expertise, encouraging scientific, political and societal dialogue. The new ‘Experience Energy!’ exhibition will be open to visitors from 4 April 2023.

The issue of energy is more relevant than ever before, whether in discussions on global warming and climate protection or in relation to the future safeguarding of energy supplies. The Swiss Museum of Transport is now taking up a new active and unifying role in the arena of energy: its focus is on raising awareness of how the issue affects people personally, and identifying ways in which both individuals and society as a whole can achieve future-oriented behaviour.

With the new ‘Experience Energy!’ exhibition in the newly opened ‘House of Energy’, the Swiss Museum of Transport is taking another step forward in its development – from a museum, showing the past and present, into a meeting place in which visitors can also experience the future and play an active part in shaping it. This means that the Swiss Museum of Transport is establishing itself as a platform for dialogue and as a laboratory investigating issues relating to energy. This is happening in an ongoing, collaborative process of interactions with visitors, scientists and educators, as well as with business and industry.

The opening of the ‘Experience Energy!’ exhibition, ranging over around 600 square metres, is the first step in this process. Because it’s not only the exhibition that will be under constant development: the topic of energy will gain enormous visible and tangible significance throughout the entire Museum of Transport – partly thanks to dialogue with the public and numerous partners.

Wide-ranging ‘Experience Energy!’ exhibition opens to the public from 4 April

The new ‘Experience Energy!’ exhibition is designed to be interactive and multisensory, offering fascinating insights into the topic of energy across 600 square metres. For instance, the energy pioneer Bertrand Piccard appears as a hologram, taking his audience with him into the future of energy. On a relief model of Switzerland, augmented reality brings the energy systems of today and 2050 to life. A timeline, aided by displays of original objects, shows important inventions through history, alongside the development of global energy use and CO2 emissions.

The Swiss Museum of Transport brings the energy transformation to life: a command centre shows everyday life in Switzerland and illustrates the fact that Switzerland is not an island, but is bound up in an international transmission network. Visitors can use levers and buttons to maintain the balance between electricity supply and demand and play around with different scenarios. Alongside that, grown-ups and children alike can actively bring a ‘Tiny Planet’ to life. And, in a few weeks, an imposing digital globe will make it clear what and how much energy humans use – and their immediate influence on the climate and the Earth. Another display uses physical and digital elements to portray the various professions within the energy industry.

Martin Bütikofer, Director of the Swiss Museum of Transport, performed the ceremonial opening of the ‘Experience Energy!’ exhibition on 3 April 2023, along with special guests Martin Candinas (President of the National Council of Switzerland), energy pioneer and exhibition patron Bertrand Piccard, and many famous figures from politics, science, education and industry. And the new mascot of the Swiss Museum of Transport made its first appearance. Its name – VeRo – is derived from the Italian word for ‘true’, ‘real’ or ‘actual’, and is also shorthand for ‘Verkehrshaus-Roboter’ (Museum of Transport Robot). The appealing little mascot will greet the public in the future.

Newly built ‘House of Energy’ supplements the Museum of Transport’s current offering

The new building is of tremendous significance for the future of the Swiss Museum of Transport. The expansion and opening up of the public zone as far as Haldenstrasse means the museum is now more convenient for public transport links and more integrated into the urban landscape. The most important space is the 600-square-metre exhibition area with a double-height ceiling, where the ‘Experience Energy!’ exhibition now begins. The upper floors house conference facilities, meeting rooms and office space for the Museum of Transport staff.

Another feature of the newly opened ‘House of Energy’ will be the new 180-square-metre shop, which will be run jointly by Spielkiste Schweiz AG and the Museum of Transport. An extended range of the toys and trend-led products in the museum’s current shop will also be on offer in the new Spielkiste shop near the Haldenstrasse entrance.

A new power plant for the whole campus is housed in the basement of the new building. This will enable the museum to use a significantly higher proportion of renewable energy for heating and cooling. When choosing the materials for the façade, the noise coming from Haldenstrasse and the tram line were specifically taken into account. A metal ‘curtain’ made up of differently shaped and perforated trapezoidal sheets has been attached to the building.

Energy efficiency and sustainability: a project for at least one generation

Science, politics, the public sector, business and industry as well as educational institutions and civil society as a whole are called upon to tread different paths. With the new exhibition, the Museum of Transport takes on its role as a mediator in the form of ‘edutainment’ – this is the museum’s unique selling point and the key to winning over visitors, both young and old, in a positive and pleasant way. At the same time, the Museum of Transport remains a showcase for innovation.

In collaboration with companies, institutions of higher education, research institutes and the public sector, projects are conceived and implemented with the involvement of the public. The Swiss Museum of Transport enables the transfer of scientific findings into the real world. The results of a variety of projects feed into the further development of the exhibition and serve as an inspiration for subsequent events.

The Museum of Transport is known across Switzerland as a place of extracurricular learning. For schools, it offers sustainable excursions and exclusive workshops. In collaboration with the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, the museum has developed a construction kit that explores the topic of energy in a very practical way. School classes or project groups can get together in a workshop to build their own little solar-powered ‘Houses of Energy’, which can be connected to a computer via a USB cable to show data on energy conversion on a display.

And, last but not least – without energy, cooking is impossible too. The museum’s catering partner, the ZFV-Unternehmungen cooperative (ZFV) also tackles the topics of energy and sustainability. Together with FOOD2050, the self-service restaurant ‘Mercato’ ensures transparency: a ticker shows, in degrees Celsius, the current overall global warming potential of all the dishes consumed. Visitors can also use a QR code to directly trace their own influence on the climate via digital food profiles.



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