Absolute darkness spreads, strange noises emerge from corners and under furniture, pale figures in historical costumes appear in various parts of the museum. What's going on, has the power gone out here? Not at all! The Museum der Landschaft Saanen briefly cut the power for the Museumsnacht.
"It is a completely different experience not to see the entire exhibition. In the dark, the focus is directed to the details that the visitors can explore and illuminate themselves," said operations manager Regula Hauswirth about the concept of the evening. This met with great approval from the visitors, who plunged into the adventure well-armed: an exploration party of four siblings had strapped headlamps around their heads, while others carefully groped their way through the slightly spooky-looking rooms with torches or the corresponding apps on their mobile phones.
But groping in the dark was not the only challenge that evening, visitors also had to solve a range of tasks. They received a questionnaire and a pencil at the reception with the helpful instruction that the answers were to be found in the immediate vicinity of a sound. And indeed: there was a characteristic planing sound in the woodworking room or a cheerful confusion of pupils' voices in the classroom.
Once upon a time ...
The highlights of the evening were three storytellers with their lanterns, who recited poems, sagas and legends.
In the old living room, Margit Brand sat under the painting of the Lauenen poet Gottfried Reichenbach, also known as "ds Kanoni" or "Der Sänger vom Wildhorn". The visitors were allowed to make themselves comfortable in front of the heated stove and listen to some of his impressive poems.
One floor up, in the themed area of Alpine farming, Verena Hauswirth had settled down in her traditional farmer's costume and told the legends of the beast at Lake Arnen and of the "Britschenmandli" from Alp Stalden. Visitors could also learn what a legend actually is and how it comes about.
In the bell room, surrounded by Schopfer bells, Heini Hauswirth told the legend of Saint Theodul. The legendary bishop is the patron saint of the canton of Valais, of cattle, bells and bell ringers.
The enigmatic Museumsnacht in the dark was conceived by the Museum der Landschaft Saanen on its own. This year, it was not part of the joint Museumsnacht with the museums of the Pays-d'Enhaut and the Gruyère region as in previous years. Regula Hauswirth draws a positive conclusion: "This year we wanted to appeal more to the local population in terms of language and culture". This seems to have been successful. "I have the impression that people liked the concept. Next year we want to continue like this and will certainly come up with something very special again."
Based on AvS/Sonja Wolf