Special Exhibitions

The search for the truth - 150 years since the first ascent oft he Matterhorn

from July 2015

150 Jahre Erstbesteigung Matterhorn

On 14 July 150 years ago one of the most daring and dramatic first ascents in the history of the Alps came to an end: the Englishman Edward Whymper, who had set off from Zermatt, reached the summit of the 4478 metre high Matterhorn before his opponent Jean-Antoine Carrel, who had set out from the Italian side. But during the descent four members of the seven-man expedition led by Whymper fell to their deaths – after a rope broke. However, Whymper managed to make his name internationally famous as a heroic Alpine climber with his version of the Matterhorn drama, although circumstances and questions of culpability for the fall have still not been accounted for today.

150 years after

What remains after 150 years? Can the circumstances of the tragedy still be reconstructed? The Zermatt multimedia journalist Matthias Taugwalder, photographer of spectacular 360-degree panoramic images of alpine peaks, is a direct descendent of the famous mountain guide. For the 150th anniversary, he has launched intensive research with the aim of finding out what really happened in that first ascent. He interviewed descendants of those first climbers and thanks to digitisation processes he could access archive material that has never been viewed before.

Special exhibition at the Matterhorn Museum

The result of this project is shown in the Matterhorn Museum in Zermatt as a special exhibition. For the first time in 150 years these contemporary documents will be shown, as images, but together in one place. This unique collection of historic documents will be also conserved as an exhibition catalogue, to make it available to a broader audience.

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Trademark Matterhorn - a mountain as a global marketing asset

from December 2006

The Matterhorn has now become a global marketing asset, helping to sell products from all over the world. As the "mother of all mountains", it symbolizes quality, tradition, and Switzerland itself. The Matterhorn Museum shows its collection of these products as part of the permanent collection.

Matterhorn Mania 1
© Felix Brönnimann

What does the Matterhorn mean to the people in Zermatt, what does it mean to Switzerland or to the world? As part of the project "Matterhorn Mania" we talked about the meaning and the significance of the "mother of all mountains". You’ll find the summary of the event on the Matterhorn Blog.