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Saint Martin 11.11.2023 openinghours.openfromto.long

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Christmas Eve 24.12.2023 openinghours.openfromto.long

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The alps in legend

Forum of Swiss History Schwyz | 23.4.2022 - 2.10.2022
published on 22.4.2022

Scary tales that give you goosebumps

Folk tales give you the shivers, leave you filled with wonder, and are fascinating at the same time. Are there such things as ghosts, dragons, witches, or even the Devil himself? What are tutelary symbols? And, how much truth is there in folk tales? From 23 April to 2 October 2022, the exhibition «The Alps in legend» at the Forum of Swiss History Schwyz tells about folk tales from the region of the central Alps and looks at their origins and how they spread.

The Devils Bridge, the Sennentuntschi, and, of course, the story of William Tell: these are just three examples of famous tales and legends from central Switzerland. Unlike fairy tales, legends are believed to be «true» and always bear reference to a specific place, person, event or time. They tell of extraordinary, supernatural, or miraculous incidents. They feature ghosts, witches, even the Devil himself, along with historical events and figures. No wonder they capture people’s imagination and make them shudder but, at the same time, they often also contain an educational, socio-critical, even moralizing element.

Who began collecting folk tales, when, and for what purpose? What’s behind these short stories? Superstition, folk religion, or even a shred of history as the example of William Tell seems to imply? And, what do we mean when we say that the motifs of legends «wander»?

The Black Spider and the Pilatus Dragon
These are just some of the questions the exhibition «The Alps in legend» at the Forum of Swiss History Schwyz (from 23 April to 2 October 2022) tries to answer. It is concerned with how tales and legends originate and spread but also questions their function and the impact they had. The show not only deals with tales transmitted by word of mouth and legends recorded in writing, but also with the rich imagery they generated. The focus is on famous folk tales such as the Black Spider, the Pilatus Dragon, or the enchanted Blüemlisalp. In addition, audio stations provide an opportunity to listen to many other tales from the Alps, allowing visitors to become immersed in a world of scary stories – and, possibly, making them realize after their visit what impact and significance these tales still have for us in present-day society and as individuals.

Evenings of storytelling and guided tours for young and old
A rich supporting programme invites those interested to learn more about the subject of tales and legends. In exciting guided tours, experts provide insight and interesting background information regarding the origins, reception, and various motifs of folk tales. Guided family tours and amulet workshops allow young and old to immerse themselves in the world of legends, and on special «storytelling evenings» listeners can experience from close-up typical folk tales from the cantons of Uri, Ticino, Valais and Schwyz.

 

For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us:

Pia Schubiger | exhibition curator | Swiss National Museum.
T. +41 41 819 60 15 | E-Mail: pia.schubiger@nationalmuseum.ch

Karin Freitag | Communications | Forum for Swiss History Schwyz.
T. +41 41 819 60 18 | karin.freitag@nationalmuseum.ch

Images

01

Entry to the exhibition «The alps in legend»

Copyright © Swiss National Museum

02

A view of the exhibition with mystical trees

Copyright © Swiss National Museum

03

A view of the exhibition – Narrating and collecting folk tales

Copyright © Swiss National Museum

04

A view of the exhibition – Folk tales and the invention of history

Copyright © Swiss National Museum

05

A view of the exhibition – Folk tales and superstition

Copyright © Swiss National Museum

06

A view of the exhibition – The supernatural reflected in folk tales

Copyright © Swiss National Museum

07

A view of the exhibition – Lord's Corner (with crucifix)

Copyright © Swiss National Museum

08

A view of the exhibition – Widespread motifs

Copyright © Swiss National Museum

09

A view of the exhibition – Urban Legends

Copyright © Swiss National Museum

10

Exhibition poster «The alps in legend»

Copyright © Swiss National Museum, Graphic Design by Büro Nord

Press contact Forum of Swiss History Schwyz

+41 41 819 60 18 medien.fsg@nationalmuseum.ch