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Alpine exhibition reaches summit

The alpine exhibition takes the show to the mountains.

(A. Böhner-Sindelar, Brunnen)

Anyone interested in seeing a new series of exhibitions chronicling man's impact on the Alps will have to climb a mountain.

The Forum of Swiss History has sent its summer exhibition packing. After a brief showing at the museum in canton Schwyz, the 14 exhibitions have been transported to mountain huts in central Switzerland owned by the Swiss Alpine Club.

As the museum's contribution to the Unesco International Year of Mountains, the series - titled "Meeting at the Summit" - sheds light on what impact humans have made on the alpine environment.

The stories told are as varied as the mountains themselves. They focus on the history of alpine tourism, mountain farming, geology and old wives' tales.

The exhibition at the Hinterbalm Hut shows how agriculture has changed over the last half century. Harvesting hay from mountain slopes was once a difficult, dangerous but necessary undertaking.

Today, alpine farmers buy hay for their livestock, which is then transported to their mountain pastures from the Swiss plains or even from abroad.

Selling glacier ice

The objects and pictures at the Krönten Hut recall a failed 19th century venture to sell ice from the Schlossberg Glacier. Alphorns can be played at the Rugghubel Hut to show how people once passed on messages to each other, before communication towers were erected on mountaintops.

Hikers staying at the Rotondo Hut can visit the Alaska Bar. Built in 1942, it was one of many hidden huts set up in the Second World War to accommodate Swiss soldiers who might have to retreat into the Alps from invading forces. The invasion never came, but the Alaska Bar remains.

The exhibition runs from June 23 to September 30.

The other huts taking part are: Windgällen, Hüfihut, Leutschach, Albert Heim, Lindernen, Damma, Bergsee, Salbit, Seewen and Cavardiras.

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