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The Montafon Tourism Museum

by Theresa König last modified 2007-02-19 15:18

The Montafon Tourism Museum

The Montafon Tourism Museum

The Montafon Tourism museum is located in the former Early Mass House which, like all of the old Walser Houses is built predominantly from wood.  It was re-built after a fire in the early 19th century destroyed it.  The most notable tenant was the nationally renowned sermonizer, choir master and mountain climber, Franz Josef Battlogg (1836-1900).  In 1992 the empty heritage building took on its new function as a tourism museum.

Compared to the Walser houses, the buildings of the Rheatia-Romanians were built almost entirely out of stone – as you would see if you went to the districts of Ardez and Guarda in Engadin.  Like the two ethnic groups – Rhaetia-Romanian and the Walsers – over the centuries the two building styles mixed together to create the Montafon House made of wood and stone.

The museum was established by the Heritage Protection Society in the valley of Montafon under the direction of Klaus Fussenegger and is still sponsored by the society today.

As you can see, the main floor of the tourism museum is similar to the inside of a hotel in the early 1900’s.  The foyer looks like what the reception area would have looked like back then.  The lounge is quite classy if we compare it to the simple Montafon farm houses from those times and the posh looking bedrooms and “hotel kitchen” accentuate the look.  A glance at the cellar doesn’t only tell us what the cellar would have looked like in the former guest house, but we can also see the foundation of the original building built in the 17th century.

Because of the unique landscape situation, the Montafon Tourism Museum cannot overlook those „tourists“ that made at least a part of their living from travelling: the haulers.  We can see traces of the hauling trade and the old guest house from the 17th century on the first floor.  The connections become clearer in the older history of alpinism, where the first ascent of the Piz Buin by the travelling salesman from St. Gallen, Johann Jakob Weilenmann in 1865 and the opening up of the mountain regions with the many mountain huts on the Silvretta, the Raetikon and the Verwall ranges are presented.

Before tourism became a new basis of existence in the inner Montafon, new forms of income had to be found to supplement the income from farming just so the people could survive.  Up until the 18th century, many people from the Montafon as well as Paznaun – looked for work in foreign countries in order to secure an existence.  During the 18th century, home-work from the textile industry made it possible for at least the women to not have to take on seasonal work in other countries as much.
The upper level of the museum is filled with various aspects of the history of tourism.  The first thing is of course, the history of the ski, which is shown from its beginnings up to the present time.  Historical winter sports clothes rounds off this part of the exhibition.  Prominent hotels like the “Rössle” in Gaschurn, the “Madrisa” in Gargellen or the “Taube” in Schruns are all mentioned in one showcase together with the famous Montafon guest: Ernest Hemingway.
The history of the valley’s cable railway is in a separate room.  Lots of brochures and posters from the past as well as statistical comparisons of overnight stays can also be found on the upper floor.  A movie about the start of skiing as a sport and the history of the cable railway can also be seen on the upper level.

Open to the public from Christmas to Easter and Whitsun (26.10) on Tuesdays and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.  Groups must reserve.


P04-1 The Montafon Tourism Museum.mp3

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