Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Messner Mountain Museum in the Dolomites

The Messner Mountain Museum is spread over five different sites in the Dolomites in Südtirol, each having its own specific focus. Four of the museums are open and the fifth is due to be ready in 2010.
Firmian. Open in June 11th, 2006, the most recent of the museums is located in Castle Firmiano/Sigmundskron (The Magic Mountain) just south of Bolzano.
The museum seeks to explore the relationship between men and mountains, with displays covering mountains in art, religion and literature and a history of mountaineering. An exhibition in its white tower is dedicated to the history of Südtirol.
Juval (Thema Mythos Berg: Die religiöse Dimension). The picturesque Juval Castle dates from 1278. The theme of this museum is the link between spirituality and mountains.
Dolomites (Thema Dolomiten/Fels: Die vertikale Welt). In the heart of the Dolomites, between Pieve di Cadore and Cortina d’Ampezzo, the "Museum in the clouds" rises at the Monte Rite (2,181 metres) affording fabulous panoramic views of the Dolomite peaks and the Marmolada Glacier.
Ortles (Thema Eis/Ortler: Gletscherwelten). In Sulden, at the Ortler mountain at 1,900 metres, the museum is a cleverly constructed underground space given over to the theme of ice. There are pictures of glaciers from all over the world, including a collection by the Victorian artist ET Crompton. The exhibition talks about the "fears people may have from the ice, and about the darkness", about "snow people" and "snow lions", about the "White Out" and the "third pole". Skiing, ice-climbing and pole runs are taken up as a theme. In a cabinet there is a memento of the British Antarctic Expedition of 1907-1909 signed by Ernest Shackleton.
Bruneck (Thema Bergvölker: Profane Welt der Berge). The fifth and final part of the project, located in castle Bruneck in the Pustertal, is due to open in 2010. The museum will focus on the subject of mountain communities.