Every country has their must see sights. When you go to England, you can’t miss Big Ben. And when you head to France, who can leave without a view of the Eiffel Tower? When you come to Switzerland, you shouldn’t leave without seeing the majestic Matterhorn, one of the highest peaks in the famed Alps. Of course, it’s even better to head to the peak yourself!
But before heading up to the iconic mountain itself, be sure to pay a visit to the Matterhorn Museum in Zermatt, a picturesque town in the canton of Valais. This museum tells the story of this region, it’s people and the first ascent of the Matterhorn. In short, it puts your whole visit in context and gives you a new appreciation for the region.
Here, you can learn the details about the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865. This historic event, led by English explorer Edward Whymper ended in tragedy – when four people from his seven-person expedition died. Visitors can see the broken rope from that expedition, preserved in a glass case.
The museum also preserves a little bit of Zermatt before all the tourists and vacationers. Once a sleepy farming community, the museum pays homage to this in a staged a recreation of life in the town called “Zermattlantis.” Here you can walk amongst representations of old Zermatt, gaining an appreciation for what life must have been like for the people of the village. These buildings are truly amazing. Imagine living more than 5,000 feet above sea level, at the mercy of nature and the elements. These were obviously hardy folk.
The Matterhorn museum also hosts traveling exhibitions and cultural performances. Be sure to inquire when you visit about all that’s happening.
The Matterhorn museum is closed from November through mid-December. From mid-December through Easter, it’s open from 3 to 7 p.m. (8 p.m. on Fridays); from the week after Easter through June 30th and from Oct. 1-31, it’s open from 2 to 6 p.m.; and from July 1st through Sept. 30th, it’s open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Matterhorn museum accepts Visa and MasterCard. Admission prices range from 5 to 10 Swiss Francs, or CHF. This approximately translates to between $6 and $11.Google+