Concept of the project

“An exhibition is a four- or more-dimensional, non-linear narration where the visitor can follow many threads; there is no question of one single story, but rather of separate story fragments that are always varied and presented from a different perspective in the space.”
Kossmann.dejong, Amsterdam-based design agency

Museographic concept and exhibition scenario

How to bring the Neuchâtel Observatory’s history to life, where the measurement of time marked an entire region for more than a century?

In contrast to exhibition designs and storytelling currently offered by watchmaking museums, visitors will be able to relive where the research was originally carried out, in an intact historical site. They will be able to feel with their five senses the different research areas and be connected in the dome with the infinitely large – the Universe – and in the basement with the infinitely small – the atoms. They will discover how the observatory has enabled the regional watchmaking industry to conquer new markets, how the observation of stars and atoms made it possible to determine time ever more precisely, they will see two historical instruments, the Zeiss telescope and the Quervaint-Piccard seismograph in operation, and relive the broadcasting of time on Swiss radio, which was broadcast every day at 12:30 pm.

The museography will be developed in a labyrinthine route of 9 spaces spread over 2 floors, with a surface area of about 250 square metres.

In several rooms along the route, an audioguide accessible with a smartphone via QR-Codes will allow visitors to listen to quotes and anecdotes from observatory employees.

Location plan of the 2 floors of the Hirsch Pavilion

Historical sectional plan of 1910
© HBN Editor

The prototype with all contents, displays, etc. can be seen on the page “Prototypes and design“.

Ground floor of the Hirsch Pavilion

Basement of the Hirsch Pavilion