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Museum becomes time traveller

Visitors can step back in time at Bern's art museum


Bern's museum of fine arts has delved into its past and transformed itself into a huge time machine to propel it into the future.

The exhibition, entitled "Time Machine", was inspired by the novel by H.G. Wells. Its curator Ralf Beil told swissinfo: "There's an important scene in the book, although not the film version, in which the time traveller enters a dilapidated museum in 1895.

"He takes objects from the museum's cupboards which help him to fight the Morlocks and the darkness they represent in the year 70,802. The man survives because he has the riches of the museum, and now we are trying to do the same thing."

What the Bern Kunstmuseum staff did was take a look through their storage vaults at works of art which in some cases have gathered dust for decades. Bought by or given to the museum, they include paintings never before publicly exhibited.

"These never left the storage rooms because either previous curators weren't interested in them or because they had not been restored," said Beil. "They'd never seen the light of exhibition rooms."

So dozens of hitherto underestimated works from 1300 to the present day were carefully selected - and restored - to be hung alongside masterpieces from the museum's permanent collection which are better known to the public.

Some will remain where they are after the exhibition closes on July 21, but for space reasons many others will be returned to storage.


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