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Landesmuseum Zürich: WWF. A Biography

Published on 21/04/2011

WWF. A Biography20 April - 18 September 2011

The world famous conservation organization WWF is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. An exhibition at the Swiss National Museum in Zurich called "WWF. A Biography" shows how an idea at a handful of British evolved into a globally active network of environmental organisation.

In addition to displays occupying 900 square metres of floor space inside the museum itself, the exhibition also features a garden of discovery in the museum courtyard. This Footprint Garden enables visitors to find out about their own individual handling of natural resources.

WWF first commenced its global activities fifty years ago when it was set up as a foundation under Swiss law in 1961. Based in Gland on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, what began as a donor organization has since become one of the largest conservation agencies in the world. The founders of WWF were all British and united by their interest in birds and concern for the future of Africa’s national parks. WWF is currently supported by five million individuals and is engaged in projects in over 100 countries.

This exhibition relates the many twists and turns in the astonishing history of this pioneering nongovernmental organization (NGO). While in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries people were concerned mainly with their right to self-determination, in the latter part of the twentieth century many became worried about the future availability of natural resources. WWF was, and still is, one of the environment’s most vocal advocates.

"WWF. A Biography" presents a wide variety of exhibits and reconstructed period rooms, such as the one in which the founder members first assembled. There are sections devoted to the 1965 opening of the Coto Doñana National Park in Spain, for instance, and efforts to protect the flamingos on Lake Nakuru in Kenya. The
universally known WWF panda logo is also accorded a prominent role in the exhibition, one of whose highlights is the original draft logo – a pen-and-ink drawing that until recently was believed lost.

For the first time ever in the museum’s history the inner courtyard is to be an integral part of the exhibition. The hands-on Footprint Garden is designed to engage all the senses and encourages visitors to examine their own footprint with respect to water, soil, raw materials and energy. Structured like a garden plot, the garden illustrates the vision of self-sufficiency using only a tiny parcel of land.

While interactively exploring assorted everyday scenes in nine different zones, visitors can find out what resources they consume at home and on the move, or calculate how much water they use. This is made possible by the "footprint calculator" at the centre of the garden, which visitors can use to work out their own individual ecological footprint. The garden promises to be particularly exciting for children who love to explore and discover.

Programme of Events
The National Museum Zurich has lined up an extensive programme of both indoor and outdoor events to tie in with the exhibition. There will be panel discussions, films, public tours, tours conducted by WWF experts, a treasure hunt for children and families, a special programme for schools and a competition. Further details
can be found at www.wwf.landesmuseum.ch.

Special Easter Programme
The museum will be hosting a varied programme of family events over the Easter holidays.
Sat. April 23 – Mon. April 25, 2011, 10 am-5 pm

The website contains further information on the exhibition and programme of events. www.wwf.landesmuseum.ch
Programme flyer is available for download here.

SBB RailAway offer
This reduced-price SBB RailAway offer is available at every station or from the Rail Service Helpdesk
0900 300 300 (CHF 1.19/min. from the Swiss fixed-line network).

Swiss National Museum
Landesmuseum Zürich
Museumstrasse 2
8021 Zurich
Tel. +41 (0)44 218 65 11
Opening hours
Tue-Sun 10 am-5 pm, Thursdays until 7 pm
Open on public holidays