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Woodcarving museum allows visitors to wield their own chisels

Cantonal government official, Elisabeth Zölch, carves a notch in a sculpture at the "living museum" Keystone

The arts and crafts company, Jobin of Switzerland, has opened what it calls a "living museum" in Brienz - Switzerland's woodcarving centre. The museum is giving visitors the chance to try their hand at woodcarving or music box making.

This content was published on April 25, 2001 - 08:07

The cottage industry of woodcarving developed in the Bernese Oberland town of Brienz in the first half of the 19th century to take advantage of the increasing number of tourists travelling to the area.

The Jobin Company, founded in 1835, was one of the first on the scene, producing exquisitely detailed woodcarvings of alpine fauna, which has made Brienz well known as a woodcarving centre.

The "living museum" boasts not only the largest exhibition of antique Swiss woodcarvings and music boxes, but gives visitors the chance to watch skilled craftsmen at work or to try their own hand at woodcarving or assembling a mechanical music box.

"We have to offer Swiss craftsmanship a platform," said the company manager, Flavius Jobin at the museum opening. "Because this cultural commodity will only be able to survive if it makes itself accessible, visible, understood and able to be experienced."

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