A Tour of the Exhibits

 

 

 

The mural paintings on the face of the building outside and in the entrance hall are the work of the Bernese artist Friedrich Traffelet (1897–1954). In the entrance hall we also have the carved and inlaid Archive Cabinet of the Bernese Cantonal Rifle Association, made in 1899 by the famous Wood Carving School in Brienz.

The exhibits alongside the flight of stairs show the development from simple bows to crossbows, and of firearms from the mediaeval « hand gun » to the modern assault rifle. These weapons include the staple Swiss service rifles, also used by private citizens at shooting competitions.

In the Hall of Honour on the first floor a life-size model of Konrad Stäheli (1866–1931) from St Gallen can be found. Stäheli won the rifle shooting World Championships
24 times, and was an Olympic winner in both the 300 metre and 50 metre events. His achievements in international competition can never be surpassed – even today’s young World Champion, Marcel Bürge (1972), cannot hope to outdo him. With the figures of these two marksmen as well as markswoman Andrea Brühlmann (1984), the progression of the shooting clothing and weaponry can be seen. The clothes displayed on the model of Marcel Bürge are the originals he wore at the World Championships at Lahti in Finland in 2002, and the rifle is the one he used there.

The « Sturmgewehr 57 » assault rifle is designed to shoot round corners. It was specially produced for a movie. It is said that it actually works.

In the glass display cabinets in the Grand Gallery on the first floor you see the most valuable weapons in the Museum. They include rifled muskets with magnificent inlay-work in bone and horn. The oldest arm dates from 1564. The very high quality of Bernese gunmakers’ art in the 18th Century is also illustrated here in weapons by Franz Ulrich and Christian Schenk. In a further showcase valuable weapons that were presented as prizes at Switzerland’s premier shooting events, the Federal Rifle Championships, are shown.

The Grand Gallery is furthermore dedicated to the development of the « Eidgenössischen Schützenfesten », the Federal Rifle Championships, from 1824 to the present day. In the back of the gallery, the special coinage, and commemorative Taler, minted for all these rifle championships are displayed.

Amongst the most significant exhibits on this floor is unquestionably the large silver trophy which King Willem III of the Netherlands (1817–1890) donated to the Federal Rifle Championships at Lausanne in 1876: it weighs over 26 pounds, and it took an intire year and four craftsmen to make it. In the same display case you will see the gilded silver trophy presented by the German Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859–1941) for competition at the Federal Rifle Championships in Berne in 1910.

A special display case on this floor is dedicated to commemorative shooters’ pocket watches. Among these, we have one particularly splendid example, the first and finest made by the Watchmakers’ School in La Chaux de Fonds for presentation at the Federal Rifle Championships in Lausanne in 1836: it is in gold, and still has its original case. On the lid of this watch all the coats of arms of the Swiss cantons are figured, together with the scene of William Tell’s famous apple shot.

Beside the flight of stairs from the first to the second floor a typological collection of weapons by Dr. Günther from Freiburg in Breisgau is dis-played, whilst above hang the flags of various rifle clubs and associations that have been passed into the faithful custody of the Museum.

In the Upper Gallery on the second floor are the showcases of the rifle associations of the Swiss cantons, set out in alphabetical order from Aargau to Zürich. In the wall showcase and the hexagonal showcase are prizes won in international team matches. On the left hand side wall the skin of the bear which – as a living animal named Ameko –, was won by the Swiss team in Helsinki in 1937, is displayed.

In the showcases along the central aisle of this floor are prizes and gifts from distinguished marksmen, who in the course of time have passed on their collections to the Museum. One example is the collection of the Perret-Bourquin family from Neuchâtel, which had been established by five shooting generations. On the back wall of the gallery is a fine example of a 19th Century carved flag cabinet, made for the « Scharfschützen Bern » [sharp shooters] rifle club.

A final attraction – above all for our younger visitors – is the old Kleider Frey [fashion store] miniature shooting range, which may still be used upon request.

We are looking forward to your visit!

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