What To Do In Bern, Switzerland
- Museum fur Kommunikation (Museum for Communication)
- Einstein Museum
The Museum for Communication is a great museum to take children. Divided into three areas (Types of Communication, Computers, and the Stamp/Postal System), the museum provides an interactive overview of communications where the emphasis is on actual communication, not a regurgitated history.
Starting with face to face communications (verbal and sign) and moving on to telegraphs, telephones, radio, televisions, the postal system, and the internet, the museum is full of hands on exhibits. My daughter’s personal favorite was the quasi-bank tube communications (that you see in American drive through banks) where she would send a note to someplace in the museum via the air tube and someone she didn’t know would answer her back through the tube.
Guided tours are available but a self-guided tour with kids is better as this is a place that encourages hands on exploration where kids can touch, listen, and use the exhibits. There is a museum shop and a cafe that provides salads, sandwiches, pastries and soft drinks.
Closed Mondays, December 25, January 1, and the Fourth Monday in November for Zibelemarit (the annual onion market fair and festival in Bern).
The Einstein Museum is my favorite museum in Switzerland and generally appeals to older children and adults because most of the information is transported in words or film that requires very little interaction. Located just a block from the Museum fur Kommunikation, the Einstein Museum is a 13,000 square foot building devoted to Albert Einstein, a German born physicist who is regarded by many as the Father of Modern Physics. Even if you are not a fan of physics or are intimidated with the mention of the Theory of Relativity, don’t skip this museum as the exhibits tell as much about the man as mankind.
It’s no secret that Albert Einstein carried both a German and Swiss passport and that he was denied refuge in Switzerland prior to World War II because the Swiss claim he accepted the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics on German soil as a German citizen. Fearing for his life, Einstein moved to the United States in 1933 where he held a position at Princeton University until his death in 1955. All of the exhibition texts are in English, German, and French. Audio guides come in 9 languages. The museum takes approximately 2 hours to go through although it’s easy to spend much more time here.
The Einstein Museum is laid out chronologically beginning with Einstein’s Jewish heritage in Germany in the 1800’s that led to his birth in Ulm in 1879. Einstein’s early education in Germany and later years of education and early career in Switzerland are presented followed by his career progression and final years in Princeton (1933-1955).
There is a cafe: Bistro Steinhalle which is open every day except Monday from 9:00 – 10:00 on weekdays and 9:00 – 5:00 on weekends. Reservations can be made by calling 41 31 351 5100.