Museum Walserhaus

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Museum Walserhaus Gurin
Museum Walserhaus.png
LocationBosco Gurin, Switzerland
Coordinates46°19′02″N 8°29′24″E / 46.317181°N 8.489971°E / 46.317181; 8.489971
TypeEthnographic museum

The Museum Walserhaus Gurin is located in the characteristic Walser village of Bosco Gurin and is the oldest ethnographic museum in the Canton of Ticino. It is managed by the Walserhaus Gurin Association.[1]

The Walserhaus Gurin Association

The Association founded in 1936 intends to maintain and upgrade the Walser culture and language of Bosco Gurin, the so-called Ggurijnartitsch. In particular, the Association intends to:

  • protect the historical, cultural and linguistic heritage of the Gurin Walser community;
  • support and encourage projects aiming to deepen knowledge and understanding of Guirn Walser origins, history, language and customs among the local community and further afield;
  • present in the ethnographic Museum Walserhaus the history and culture of the Gurin Walser community and of the neighbouring Pomatt Valley Val Formazza.[2]

The Association counts more than 300 members and is ruled by a Committee where the local authorities and bodies are represented. The execution of the museum’s activities is carried out by a curator helped by a guardian; both live in the village and are supported by numerous volunteers. The habitation museum is unique and not only attracts many visitors (more than 3'000 every year) from all over Switzerland and from abroad, but also has the function of enhancing the Gurin community’s sense of cohesion through a host of activities and of maintaining the links to other Walser communities all over the Alps.[3]


The Museum Walserhaus was opened in 1938 as the first ethnographic museum in the canton Ticino. For this purpose, a very old house from 1386 was made awailable and could therefore be preserved in its original structure. [4] From the beginning, the exhibition grew steadily. In 2006 the permanent exhibition was completely reorganized. Since then, the exhibition concept has expanded to include the nearby barn and the vegetable garden in front of the museum. Since 2009, the museum received another barn in which there is space for temporary exhibitions or handicraft workshops. In 2016, a project was launched to update and modernize the exhibition with a particular focus on upgrading the architectural heritage, the collection and the Ggurijnartitsch through an innovative method of presentation. Thanks to the project, the jobs of the curator and the guardian were preserved and work opportunities were offered to the residents and craftsmen of the village. The current exhibition, inaugurated in 2018, can now be seen in its modern form with updated technical infrastructure.

The Habitation Museum

The permanent exhibition is set up in an old Walser house in which various folkloristic and historical topics are presented. The house was originally intended for two families. The building dated 1386 is one of the oldest buildings in the entire Alpine region and is in itself a gem of Walser architecture. One room is dedicated to the Gurin artist and graphic artist Hans Tomamichel (1899 – 1984) who is known for his sgraffitis created throughout Switzerland (20 of which are in Bosco Gurin) and for the important advertising campaigns created for Knorr, Nestlé and Caritas. Hans Tomamichel was also one of the co-founders of the Walserhaus Association and active in making the Walser culture known as a whole. [5]

In the two nearby barns there are a permanent exhibition on mountain farming and temporary exhibitions ond topics inherent to the village, whereas in front of the museum there is the show garden built in collaboration with the ProSpecieRara Foundation.

The Museum in the Territory

The new concept elaborated in 2016 wants to expand the museum into the Gurin territory. For this purpose, the project Ggurijnar Cheschtschi (Gurin treasure chest) was developed: a collection of didactic activities and guided tours described in a series of brochures that allow to make tangible themes around the traditions, the language, the art and the environment. The borchures are available to visitors at the reception so that they can explore the village and learn some interesting facts about it. The project Ggurijnar Cheschtschi was supported by Pro Patria and by the Bosco Gurin Association for the landscape. [6]

The Show-garden and Måtzufåmm

Iaschi Ååna hèd eistar ggseit, fer an güata Måtzufåmm z heigin, müassmu zacha Såcha dretüa – Our grandmother used to say that a good Måtzufåmm-soup needs at least ten different ingredients.

— from Aus der Mundart von Bosco Gurin

The didactic vegetable garden ProSpecieRara in front of the building is part of the museum in the territory. Following the intentions of the Swiss Foundation for preservation and promotion of genetic diversity in fauna and flora, the garden wants to attract the visitors’ attention on old and rare sorts of vegetables, which also include a local May beet variety (Rååfa, Raaftschi) of Bosco Gurin. The many vegetables grown here are also the ingredients for the traditional soup Måtzufåmm. Some years ago, the original recipe was rediscovered and is now the main attraction of the traditional autumn festival organized in collaboration with the local Traditional costume group. During the festival, there are also free village and museum guided visits, a market with local products and games for children. Yet, it is mainly the delicious vegetable soup served with local bread and cheese which every year attracts not only the villagers, but more and more visitors from Ticino, Switzerland and even from abroad. [7]


The Walserhaus Gurin museum is recognized by the Canton of Ticino as a regional ethnographic museum (Law on regional ethnographic museums – 1990.06.18 and chg. 2002.06.04)[8] and is an active member of the International Association for Walserism (IVfW)[9]. Hereafter some of the projects implemented in the past decade are presented:

  • 2008: for the 70th anniversary, an old lime kiln was put into operation again in cooperationn with the Bosco Gurin Landscape Association. The produced lime was used for the restoration of an old residential building of particular historical value.
  • 2012: For the exhibition "The world of the Weltu" the two artists Elisabeth Flueler-Tomamichel and Kurt Hutterli were inspired by the local legends and mythologic figures.
  • 2014: The publication of the vocabulary Aus der Mundart von Bosco Gurin – Wörterbuch der Substantive started by Dr. phil. Emily Gerstner-Hirzel (1923 – 2003) and completed by the museum, offers a broad basis for the enhancement of various aspects of Walser culture.
  • 2014-2019: Different temporary exhibitions: Ggurijnar Chåårta (Bosco Gurin on postcards), Ggurijnar Bliama (Gurin flowers), Ggurijnar Vegalti(Gurin birds), Ggurijnar Schètz (Gurin jewellery).
  • Work in progress: linguistic research in view of the publication of the second volume of the vocabulary Aus der Mundart von Bosco Gurin – Wörterbuch der Verben und anderen Wortarten, carry on the project for preservation of Ggurijnartitsch which is sustained by Zurich University and Schweizerisches Idiotikon.


  • Tobias Tomamichel, Bosco Gurin Das Walserdorf im Tessin, Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Volkskunde, 1997
  • Annegreth Diethelm,Hans Anton Tomamichel. 1899–1984. Mit Bildern schreiben. Associazione Walserhaus Gurin, Offizin, Zürich, 2001 (ISBN 3-907496-12-4)
  • Enrico Rizzi, Leonhard Tomamichel, Giorgio Filippini, Geschichte von Bosco Gurin, Associazione Walserhaus Gurin, Fondazione Enrico Monti, Anzola d'Ossola, 2009 (ISBN 88-85295-54-1)
  • Emily Gerstner-Hirzel, Aus der Mundart von Bosco Gurin, Wörterbuch der Substantive von Bosco Gurin, Associazione Walserhaus Gurin, Armando Dadò Editore, 2014(ISBN 88-82813-91-6)


  1. "The Museum Walserhaus Gurin — Welcome to the WalserAlps". Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  2. "Museum Walserhaus". Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  3. "Museum Walserhaus |". Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  4. According to the book by Enrico Rizzi, Leonhard Tomamichel, Giorgio Filippini, Geschichte von Bosco Gurin
  5. According to the book by Annegreth Diethelm Hans Anton Tomamichel. 1899–1984. Mit Bildern schreiben.
  6. "Verbale dell'Assemblea del consuntivo del 19.03.2016". Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  7. "Raafschi, la rapa che toglie la sete". Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  8. "Centro di dialettologia e di etnografia Cantone Ticino". Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  9. "Internationale Vereinigung für Walsertum". Retrieved April 5, 2020.

External links

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