2021 marks 150 years since Lucy Walker became the first woman to ascend the Matterhorn. 2021 is also the fiftieth anniversary of women's suffrage in Switzerland. The Matterhorn Museum is linking the two anniversaries in the heart of Zermatt by presenting a special exhibition dedicated to women, which runs from 28 May 2021 to 30 October 2022. “NEW PERSPECTIVES. Women in Zermatt – Yesterday and Today" considers the role of women in society and the relationship between the sexes in and around Zermatt as well as social conditions in the 19th century. It also looks at current issues around gender equality and equal rights.
"We have noticed that history books, museum exhibits and their collections are also full of clichés and project old role models into the future. We all think and act in hidden codes. For this reason we would like to highlight, discuss and break some of these codes with our visitors," says co-curator Carmen Simon. Colleague Marie-France Hendrikx adds: "We enjoying using humour too, because we think that helps us to reflect." "NEW PERSPECTIVES" signals the Matterhorn museum's daring departure from conventional special exhibition models. The interactive project is integrated into the museum's permanent exhibition: it highlights the narratives of women that exist but also shows gaps in the historical accounts. Visitors are invited to fill in these gaps, to join in the debates and to share their own perspectives and opinions.
An audio drama takes guests on a journey into the world of women in Zermatt 150 years ago. Not only was mountain climbing not recognised then, it was actively discouraged. Visitors will become acquainted with familiar figures of the time including Catherine Seiler and Lucy Walker. But they also hear about the lives of lesser-known women whose stories have remained largely in the shadows. Video portraits also show how today's local residents and people from outside Zermatt experience the village, its politics, work practices and society. In addition, an audio app presented in collaboration with the Swiss Alpine Museum and the Valais State Archives enables visitors to relate their own narrative(s) and record them for posterity. For families, there is a play area with various games and children's books provided in cooperation with the local library in Zermatt, allowing children to engage with the subject in a playful way.
Art as far as the Klein Matterhorn
"This time the exhibition isn't restricted to our buildings; it extends beyond the grounds of the museum," says Edy Schmid, Director of the Matterhorn Museum. The Valais artist Sabine Zaalene has developed art installations for various locations. From July 2021 "CORPUS", in collaboration with the Zermatt municipality, will reach beyond the grounds of the museum to the famous bridge in the centre of Zermatt or along the cable car route right up to the Klein Matterhorn, in cooperation with Zermatt Bergbahnen AG.
Additional highlights around the area
Alongside the special exhibition, additional activities will complete the anniversary programme, "In the footsteps of Lucy Walker". The celebration week from 19 to 25 July 2021 will provide a focal point with various festivities. Visitors will also have the chance to take part in different activities in advance: you can use the Matterhorn app for a tour of the village and check in at various infopoints to discover important facts about the first woman on the Matterhorn.