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Museum of the Alps

Fortress of Bard - Opera Carlo Alberto

The Museum of the Alps is a multidisciplinary and multimedia path dedicated to the Alps and to the mountain. A space in the forefront of the international context: the visiting path, articulated in twenty-nine rooms, combines tradition with new technologies and describes a "living" mountain, transformed by men. Sounds, videos and special projections reproduce landscapes, scenarios and multimedia games, able to drive the public through a journey of sensorial exploration.

Opened in January 2006, Museum of the Alps is included in the restoration and reconversion project which also involves the whole Fortress of Bard, realized with the support of Regione Autonoma Valle d'Aosta and ending within 2008.
Museum of the Alps is the core of the Fortress' museological program, focusing on two main subjects: on the one hand the site and the Fortress of Bard and the historical and naturalistic context; on the other the Alps and the mountain - protagonists of Museum of the Alps and of the Children's Alps Museum, that will be open to the public by 2007. The project is based on the idea to create a museum "on a human scale", distant from the classical forms of historical, anthropological and arts museums, by merging together the interpretation centre with a theme park

Museum of the Alps is placed on the first floor of Opera Carlo Alberto, main area of the Fortress. Through panoramic crystal lifts, rising from the village of Bard, the visitors the fort's heart, where the museum sets. Museum of the Alps' setting uses all the media, from the most classical ones - such as theca and dioramas - to the most elaborate ones - such as projections, renderings and multimedia games.

The exhibition is divided into four chapters, which lead the visitor to the Alps' discovery.
The journey starts with a symbolic ascent: among high mountain projections and scenarios, set up within the fortress' ancient chapel, a glass and steel staircase takes the visitor to the first part of the Museum, dedicated to the contemporary mountain. The entrance hosts an artist's installation: videos showing refuges, tunnels and hi-tech skiers, offer an innovative image of the mountain, opposite to the romantic stereotype. What we see is a complex and multifaceted mountain, constantly transformed and marked by man's intervention.
The second part of the Museum introduces to the natural and human components of the mountain environment. In the room dedicated to biodiversity videos and touch-screens reproduce the seasons' sounds, shows the climate and its changes at high altitudes, the typical plants and the inhabitants of the high lands. On the floor of the geographical room an interactive map recreates the walk through the Alps, back in time to volcanic explosions and marine backwashes that generated the Dolomites. A particular inclined screen makes the visitor flying: a breathtaking 'eagle's flight' from the top of Mont Blanc through out the most beautiful landscapes of the Alps, finally gliding down to Fortress of Bard. The experience shows that "a natural landscape does not exist" because each place is marked by man's intervention, apart from a few remote glacial areas.
The third part is dedicated to the alpine civilization. Different reconstructions of the stable, stube, school room and many interactive films describe a material culture connected to work - mines and watermills - but also sensitive to celebrations, with the typical dances at the end of winter and the bright coloured carnivals, with lanzette - characteristic Valle d'Aosta masks - and the mythical Wild Man, symbol of the difficult relationship between nature and civilization.
The fourth and last section describes the mountain transformation occurred in modern times, beginning with the romantic culture, that was the first to unearth the mountain fascination. The journey explores the 19th century artists and climbers, pioneers of peaks and of contemporary alpinism, the adventure of the first ascension to Mont Blanc and Matterhorn. The conquest of the mount signs the tourism naissance, which has become a mass phenomena since the 1930s, modifying both territory and civilizations.
The path ends with the so called "middle way of the mountains": the last room of the Museum presents and summarizes the two realities of contemporary mountain, in which nostalgia to tradition and bewilderment induced by modernity are juxtaposed and mingled. The answer to this condition is a hopeful message: a middle way is possible to the future.

Thanks to the combination of tradition and new technologies, the visiting path is conceived as a unique text that the visitor can read by passing through, living a journey with all five senses. This is how the public, from simple visitor, becomes protagonist of the Museum. Coherently to this idea, mountain is presented by the words of its "witnesses'': naturalists, geographers, anthropologists and meteorologists describe the different sections in short videos, involving the public in the narration.
The Alps and the contemporary mountain are absolute protagonists of the Museum, through a continuous dialogue between pass and present, nature and culture, with the conviction that this is the only way to understand and build the future. Visitors are invited to look at the Alps, observe its environment and its society with new eyes, taking part in their life - as inhabitant, tourist or mounting fan - but always responsible for their future.

The Museum of the Alps is the result of a teamwork, directed by Enrico Camanni, journalist, Luisella Italia and Massimo Venegoni, architects, based on the guidelines by Daniele Jalla, historic and coordinator of the museum services of Turin, and Alain Monferrand, architect and Director of the Observation Touristique - ODIT France.

Museum of the Alps
Fortress of Bard, Opera Carlo Alberto

Opening times
Tuesday-Friday from 10 am to 6 pm
Saturday-Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm
Monday closed

Full price: € 8,00
Concessions: € 6,00
Children (6-12 years old): € 4,00

Associazione Forte di Bard
Fortress of Bard - Bard (AO) - I
Ph. +39 0125 833811
Fax +39 0125 833830
e-mail: info@fortedibard.it

Il Museo delle Alpi. Un'antologia critica
Fortress of Bard - Silvana editoriale, Cinisello Balsamo (Mi), 2006.
Pagg. 104. Euro 15.

A Short Guide
Museum of the Alps, 2006.
Available in Italian, English, French, Spanish, German.
Pagg. 47. Free distribution in/at the Museum entrance.

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