A sense of touch in Zurich

A new exhibition in a Zurich museum offers more than a feast for the eyes: It also provides the chance for visitors to enjoy their sense of touch.

This content was published on November 29, 1999 - 18:04

A new exhibition in a Zurich museum offers more than a feast for the eyes: It also provides the chance for visitors to enjoy their sense of touch.

The exhibition is devoted to silk and its importance over the centuries to the economy of canton Zurich. Silk was first woven in Zurich in the 13th century, and by the 16th century it had a solid manufacturing base and was a major source of income for the region.

The Museum Bärengasse traces the history of Zurich silk, with fine examples from the 18th century to the present day. It shows how silk weaving was for many years a major cottage industry as well as an industrial process. Books of old samples and examples of silk clothing are behind glass, but other exhibits are not.

Sigrid Pallmert, a curator at the Swiss National Museum in Zurich, acknowledges that many visitors will be unable to resist the temptation to touch this most sensual of materials.

"We won't stop them," she said, "because it's the sense of touch which makes silk so special."

By SRI staff member Richard Dawson.

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