A visit to the Palais de Rumine: the COSMOS exhibition

By My-Lausanne

Imagine a place where hugely diverse objects sit comfortably alongside each other, from stained glass panels to dinosaur skeletons. Well this place exists and, what's more, it's in Lausanne. The COSMOS exhibition combines the domains of four cantonal museums and is free to view at the Palais de Rumine.

The COSMOS exhibition

For COSMOS, the four museums of the Palais de Rumine (zoology, geology, archaeology & history, and the monetary museum) have collaborated to design an exhibition that reveals 12 different worlds: Beauty, Hell, Disappearance, Colour, Nature, Artifice…

The visit starts with Exploration, the first of the 12 universes of COSMOS that sets out the work of the museums: research, restoration, organising exhibits in collections… Did you know that museums usually only have 1-2% of the pieces in their collections actually on display?

Exploration continues with the room of Marvels which rapidly arouses our curiosity. A piano keyboard serves to illuminate different objects in bell jars. A portable games console offers up its intricacies, a collection of ancient coins draws the eye, not forgetting the crocodile stretched out above our heads. A meeting of objects that’s surprising at times but not unsettling, the exhibition is coherent and structured, with guides available to pick up at the entrance.

Impossible not to get caught up in the exhibition, you’ll soon find that each room becomes a surprise you can’t wait to discover. In the second room – Architecture – man-made constructions are displayed alongside animal skeletons or enlarged photos of seashells. In the area dedicated to Size, check out the amber-embedded ants under the microscope, under the watchful gaze of a stuffed giraffe.

Hell with its deathly objects is counterbalanced by the Name of things which takes on an educational role, describing how researchers and scientists attempts to organise and group their discoveries. The Precious room raises questions: is a gold nugget of greater value than a stuffed dodo, extinct for 400 years? The last room is none other than Beauty, which collates its exhibits by form, colour and theme.

The visit over, COSMOS invites visitors to take a selfie in two of the museums’ display cabinets. Could it be a remake of Night at the Museum in the heart of Lausanne?

The museums of the Palais de Rumine

Enraptured by all that COSMOS has to offer, it’s almost compulsory to see the rest of the Palais de Rumine, especially since the free ticket issued on entry gives access to the whole building.

Palais de Rumine, Lausanne

Palais de Rumine, ©LT/ www.diapo.ch

The monetary museum

The monetary museum shows the development of the economy in society, along with a collection of coins from different eras. In theory a complex subject, the central interactive table and wall-mounted illustrations make it instead a highly intuitive experience. Even the children will love it.

The museum of archaeology & history

The museum of archaeology & history allows a passage through time, from pre-history to the beginning of the 19th century. With its rooms in a stepped design you can experience, layer by layer, the work of an archaeologist, from the first hit of the spade to discovery of the tomb.

The museum of geology

The museum of geology boasts precious stones (the fluorescent room is superb!), shells and fossils, before moving on to the star of the show – Sapy – the skeleton of the Brassus mammoth discovered in 1969.

The museum of zoology

On the last floor, in the museum of zoology, you can wander between glass cases and all sorts of animals. Even if you’ve already visited the museum, the famous shark is always worth another look (we never get tired of it!)

Once you’ve seen everything and come out of the museum of zoology, you’ll notice a structure above the fountain, with ropes attached that form a kind of second roof. Set around this “Pavillon du Ciel Inférieur” installation, on the 3rd floor gallery, are photos linked to the COSMOS exhibition – amazing pictures that show the storeroom collections of the Cantonal Museums.

A clever way to round off the exhibition, showing how the treasures on display are actually stored.