Naturhistorisches Museum Bern, Ausstellung Tiere der Schweiz, Steinbock Diorama

Animals of Switzerland – Capercaillie, ibex & co.

Permanent exhibition

What's that rustling in the attic? What's that scurrying through the undergrowth? Familiar though Switzerland's fauna may be, many species are elusive and not often seen. The "Animals of Switzerland" exhibition has protected heritage status and provides visitors and locals alike with a glimpse of the diversity on our doorstep.

The Natural History Museum's "Animals of Switzerland" exhibit opened at the start of the Second World War. Many of its first visitors were members of the armed forces, for the intention behind the 164 dioramas was to show the soldiers what an incredible wealth of natural treasures they were defending on Switzerland's borders. The time-honoured display of 610 native animal specimens continues to be a central pillar of the museum even now. Not only is it of great historic value, it also serves as an important record of the biodiversity of the day. Some of the species on show are now extinct, and others did die out in Switzerland but have now returned, such as the lynx. The craftsmanship and high aesthetic quality of the historic dioramas are as impressive today as they were almost eighty years ago. Typical Alpine species such as the rock ptarmigan and mountain hare are shown in both their summer and winter plumage or pelage. The exhibition features over 145 bird species alone, from the house sparrow to the much rarer little owl.