Wikipedians' interest for (almost) hidden treasures
Small museums in two Swiss cities
Up to ten Wikipedians regularly attend the Wikipedia meetup in Zurich. Sometimes a museum visit in the afternoon preludes the usual dinners and talking fun all evening long. The three museums visited so far have in common that they are small and mostly unknown. They aren't open every day but interested visitors are usually allowed in on Saturdays, when the Wikipedians hold their meetups. Instead of descriptions, custodians are on hand to explain and answer questions related to the collections.
The first visit of this kind, in March 2012, has taken the Wikipedians to the computer museum ENTER in Solothurn. A Commons category now documents many of the old computers the museum puts on display.
In September 2012 the Police Museum of the City of Zurich offered a free guided tour. This secluded museum hides next to a parking structure and its rooms could be transformed into a large emergency shelter if needed. Currently, they are full of uniforms, weapons, vehicles and outdated communication devices. Most objects date from the 20th century, some from the 19th century. One retired policeman served as experienced guide and told stories related to the maintenance of public order and crime investigations.
Just recently, on 23 March, the group met again in Solothurn where a small museum remembers the Polish general Tadeusz Kościuszko. His last residence (1815-1817) has been converted into a museum in 1936. It puts Kościuszko's saddle, a plausible reconstruction of his bedroom, his urn, and many paintings on display. Visitors learn that this national liberation hero has also been an artist. The museum's longtime custodian, himself a native from Poland, is an active member of the local Kościuszko Society and looking for ways to preserve the hidden collection he was able to enrich with an exclusive piece, Kościuszko's authentic pistol.
BTW: The next meetup in May will again feature a visit to a small museum, in Gersau, on the shores of Lake Lucerne.