International Olympic Committee, Press Release, Dec 01, 2011: To mark its closure pending a complete renovation and modernisation, The Olympic Museum will be offering free entry to all visitors until the end of January next year.
As of today, tourists and Olympic fans will have the opportunity to visit The Olympic Museum, home to myriad Olympic memorabilia as well as the renowned torches from all editions of the Olympic Games, without the need to pay an admission fee.
Free entry is available for a period of eight weeks during which visitors will discover a special exhibition called ‘Best of’ 1992-2011 – 20 years of Olympism’ highlighting the greatest moments of the Olympic Games and Olympism. A programme dedicated to children is also planned over this popular end-of-year holiday season.
Opened in 1993 and partially updated in 2001, The Olympic Museum has welcomed more than 3.3 million visitors, making it the most popular museum in French-speaking Switzerland. It will close on 29 January 2012, after the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.
The 20-month closure will allow for the major renovation, modernisation and expansion work which is needed to ensure that The Museum remains attractive to visitors from around the world for the next 20 years. An ambitious museographical, architectural and landscaping programme will enable The Museum to offer visitors a new experience by incorporating the latest technological innovations. The Museum park will also be redeveloped and will allow a more harmonious link to be created with the neighbouring Elysée Museum.
From April until October 2013, The Olympic Museum will have a temporary presence on the MS Helvétie, a boat belonging to the Compagnie générale de navigation (General Navigation Company, CGN) moored in front of The Museum. This Belle Époque boat, one of the largest in the CGN fleet, has not been used for the last nine years, after being retired following 75 years’ service on Lake Geneva. Its 600m2 of exhibition space will display a significant portion of The Museum’s Olympic contents.
Entry to the boat will be free and will enable visitors unaware of the closure of The Museum still to review some Olympic memorabilia. Between 100,000 and 200,000 visitors are expected during the renovation period, according to The Museum’s estimates.
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