State of the Art

The Neuchâtel Observatory has never been the object of an historical exhibition. However, several clocks, instruments and documents are presented in the horological museums of the Neuchâtel region. In 1974, when the International museum of horology (MIH) was opened in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the director of the Observatory donated the meridian telescope and several clocks to the institution, which exhibits them in the permanent exhibition. After the Observatory closure in 2007, its collections were transferred to the museum’s deposits for conservation, at the request of the State of Neuchâtel, owner of the Observatory.

The history and the instruments of the Observatory have interested several institutions in the Neuchâtel region and here are some examples:

The Neuchâtel State Archives (AEN) and the Neuchâtel Public Library (BPUN) preserve the paper archives of the Observatory, like the directors’ reports, their correspondence, etc. Films and interviews can be found in the archives of SRG SSR, Memoriav and the Public Library in La Chaux-de-Fonds (DAV)(see Archive sources). There are several books on the history of the observatory and watchmaking (see Bibliography).

I have produced a documentation on various exhibitions that I have visited and resources on curatorial research, scenographers,… Readers will notice that exhibitions on the measurement of time often remain classic and drown the visitor in quantities of objects and information. Interaction with other media (photos, videos, etc.) is sometimes missing. I prefer exhibitions that allow visitors to experience an inner journey and emotions. In Switzerland, interesting examples are the Swiss Alpine Museum in Bern or the Ethnography Museum of Neuchâtel, which mixe objects, images and videos with great finesse to offer different points of view.

I also studied how some of the museums in the region, run by associations, functioned in order to find out about entrance fees, the opening schedule, the number of visitors, how they were financed, etc…

My research also focused on the broad topic of time (history, astronomy, art, exhibitions, etc.). Below is the diagram “Research Area”, references in my bibliography and on my blog.