Another day….another museum

While poor Michael works each day, I have been very fortunate to be able to visit the sights around Basel. On Thursday I had planned to visit the Mechanical Musical Instrument museum….a mere 1.3 miles away. I enjoyed my walk over the Rhine River which separates the city into two distinct sides…..Swiss on one side and French on the other!! The views of the Swiss side were very sweet…..

… were these locks firmly and permanently attached to a gate in the middle of the bridge…..

I was in need of an ATM before I arrived at the museum but was certain, since this is the banking capital of the world, that I wouldn’t have any trouble finding one. Sure enough there is one on about every other block!!!

I confidently arrived at the museum to find this…..

…. a locked door with no sign telling hours!!! Oh well, on to Plan B…..visiting the Contemporary Art museum. So, back across the river, stopping for more photos…..

….and down to the art gallery….but that didn’t work out either, so I went for a walk to enjoy the architecture of the area……

I especially liked this house at the end of a short lane…..

….and the quilting design in these wrought iron gates…..

I also passed the Kunst Minster cathedral again. I had not been particularly impressed with this structure previously, but I entered via a side door this time and found myself in an interesting courtyard that contained different views of the church……

……interesting metal sculptures including this table filled with edibles…..

……and views across the river from a small greenspace behind the building…..

This boat is actually a ferry that will take you across the river. It appears to be a motor-less raft that is propelled by electricity from the wire crossing the river.

I continued a bit further down the street and came to the “Museum Der Kulturen” (Culture Museum), whose motto is to “see the world thru other eyes”. I had no idea what to expect in this museum but it proved to be another delightful experience.

The first gallery was a special exhibit called “Lift Off”. It was housed in a large airy room with lots of spot lights that provided wonderful shadows. This was a gallery of mechanical art and everything was interactive. You turned the crank to make the feathers fly…..

Or stepped on a button to make the hand make a most annoying noise, reminiscent of the woman who sat beside us on the train!!!…..

This video shows three of her creations in action……

It was a whimsical and fascinating assortment!!!

The second gallery was about collections of objects, mostly from the Pacific Islands. The first exhibit that I saw was a hanging of hunting arrows much like the ones that Michael was gifted by his guide in Papua New Guinea. The REALLY cool thing about this collection is that there were mirrored tiles on the floor beneath the hanging so the illusion was amazing……

In this gallery, I found my first quilt related item…..this drum is decorated with ribbons…..

….AND an exquisite hand appliqued attachment…..

This mask had some tiny bead work that made it look like sewing thread….

This fish is actually quite large and is big enough for a person to step under it and wear it like a mask. There is a lever that allows the bottom jaw to move…..

My final find in this gallery was this shield. I loved the designs…..

The next gallery was called “SPACE” although what it really referred to was size….exactly how BIG things could be. I enjoyed the many totems and especially these three masks…..

….but most of my attention was taken up with this papyrus rug…..

I spent quite some time looking at the various patterns that were contained in it and even found some Pinwheel blocks…..

SUCH gorgeous designs!!!

I also loved a large wooden carving of a nun and was especially interested in the fact that I immediately knew what it was by the expression on the face…..

The next floor was called “GOLD” and contained a large mixture of items, mostly focusing on the using of things that you already had….ie recycling. The most interesting thing to me was that these displays…..

….were made from recycled bottles…..

There was a section devoted to fabrics and this Tartan inspired me to think about the making of a Modern quilt using this simplified design…….

The final area of this floor was about Community and Creativity and had examples of classes that were taught at the museum. Of course my eye was drawn to…..

SHIBORI!!! I asked, hopefully, if classes were in session but was told that they were only during the winter months and hadn’t started yet. Drat!!!

The final floor was called “Performance” and the exhibit was made up of various puppets. Although they were interesting, many were just weird…..

… although I did like the design of this tree top…..

There were several places in the museum where you could get nice photos of the surrounding courtyard …..

I must admit that I am confused by the large tan wall when everything thing else is such a crisp white and brown!!!

As I walked back to the Flat, the streets were fairly empty, making it easier to photograph this typical Basel scene…..

As I neared home, I passed this little bit of fabric that had been used to decorate a lonely fence….

….and I stopped and photographed this door inset that would be a fun piecing pattern…..

Speaking of fabric, I realized that there is a fabric shop just doors down from the Coop market so I had to make a quick visit. There was a wonderful wall of cotton fabrics….mostly Makower UK and many from our big US companies…..

….but I was dismayed to learn that the price was 26 Francs per meter. That is a bit over $US 26!!! Too rich for my blood…..

Michael arrived at the Flat shortly after I arrived and I was set the task of cooking dinner. When we were at the shop on the first night, I had bought a packet of Rosti…

It LOOKED like hash browns and I was hopeful that was correct. I spent some time with Google Translate and learned how to cook them and was pleasantly surprised with how good they were and how nice of a meal it made…..

And yes….it was Hash Browns!!!

It’s Wednesday so let’s hit a museum or two!!

I had decided that Wednesday would be a museum day with plans to hit a few before the day was over. Basel supposedly has over 37 museums, but I have to say that they play pretty fast and loose with the term Museum. One is apparently considered the smallest museum in the city and is simply a window that you look into!! But my choices for today were great museums.

The walk was made enjoyable by checking out these few signs…..

And there is no question what resides behind these doors…..

Speaking of toilets, I passed a small street festival that had a toilet block that was hooked into the sewer system in an interesting way…..

I sure hope that no one accidentally bumps into it!!!

This “window” was painted onto the house wall to look just like one of the other windows….

And this little lady waiting for the tram caught my eye…..

The first museum stop was the Spielzeug Welten Museum, better known as the Toy Museum. It is comprised of four floors and you started at the top and worked your way to the bottom. The top floor was TEDDY BEARS……

…..thousands of Teddy Bears!!! My daughter, Jenny, would have loved this floor!! They were set in cute arrangements, including tea time, bedtime, a Teddy Bear Hospital, Teddy Bear Picnic and more….

I read later that there were 2,500 teddy bears and another 4,000 toys and dolls!!! There was an interactive screen where you could enter the bear’s number and find out it’s history…..

After fully exploring the bear floor, I moseyed down to the third floor where the corsets were displayed…..that’s right….corsets!!! Apparently it is a special exhibition but seemed a bit out of character!! The corsets were beautiful and ranged from modern…..

… historical…..

…and even some that were for “art” purposes rather than wearing…..

The other floors were filled with dolls in various vignettes and honestly, I grew tired of them fairly quickly. I could only think that my Mom would have spent DAYS and DAYS in here looking at each scene and cooing over how wonderful it was, while my Dad and I begged her to leave!!!

I will say that the detail in some of these is AMAZING!!!!

This one seemed a bit bizarre to me as the carnival ride looked quite evil…..

I did find one scene with a fabric store……

….but, alas, not a quilt in sight!!! When I hit the rows and rows of doll houses…..

… was time for me to leave!!!

The next stop was Basler Papiermühle, better known as the Basel Paper Mill. The really cool thing about this museum is that it was fully interactive. In each of the areas…. paper making, printing and binding….. there were artisans actually working at the craft, producing fine, hand crafted products.

The first stage was paper making. I first watched the professionals at work….

….and then got to learn about the process myself!!! They currently use two different methods of preparing the fibers for making the paper. The oldest method uses large hammers to beat the fabrics into pulp…..


Unfortunately, there is a cog currently broken so this particular machine was not in operation. The newer machine uses large shredders to masticate the materials into a pulp…..

As you can see, paper making is quite a messy business….

It was explained that the nicer paper is made from actual fabric but the everyday paper is made from wood pulp.

Then it was my turn to make a piece of paper, complete with watermark!! The vat was filled with water and a mixture of wood pulp (Pine and Eucalyptus)…..

Th mold on the right is made up of two copper screens with the finer one on top. The watermark design is made from copper wire. The steps are as follows……

After a few minutes the paper could be released from the absorbent fabric (It was amazingly strong)…..

It would normally hang for 48 hours to dry, but they used a heated press to dry the paper quickly so that we could take it with us. Here is my first ever paper…..

In the next room they talked about the process of turning fabric into pulp for the paper. In the early days the fabrics were put into a well that was partially filled with water. After several days, mold begins to grow on the fabric, but it is still tightly woven and cannot be torn easily. By the 8th day, there are actual mushrooms growing on it but the fibers have broken down so that they can be easily mulched. Apparently this process is a VERY stinky one and the “rotting cellar” was placed a fair distance from the rest of the work.

The next floor up had information about the history of writing and they had a station where you could try different inks, and using different types of pens….quills and bamboo tubes, etc. Once the note was written, you could pick a marbled paper “envelope” to wrap it in and then pick a press for your seal…..

On the third floor of the museum, I learned about the printing process, including this old typesetting machine…..

This press was ready to print 16 pages from a book in a single pass…..

And this cabinet contained the typeset pages for one book……

In today’s world of instant printing, it is astounding to think how much effort went into the printing of a single book!!!

The workshop was filled with typesetting supplies…..

And they were actually manually printing some items. Check out the video here…..

Next, I was able to print a page with the museum logo on it. I used this simple printing machine…..

When it was my turn to print my name, I first had to select the letters and add it to my print tray…..

It was then placed onto a large printing plate. Strong magnets hold the pieces in place……

The print dyes are inked with a brayer…..

The paper is place on top and a large roller is passed over the paper, producing a perfect printing…..

The sunshine embossing finished out the page.

The final stage in the museum was making marbled paper, something that I have done before, but was SO much fun anyway…..

This was one of my favorite museums….ever!!! It had tons of information (even in English), and provided a great atmosphere. There was even a homage to toilet paper…..

…including information that may be considered as TMI!!!

Finally, I turned toward home, passing one fun photo opportunity….

At the local Coop store, I picked up a few items but the checkout lines were super long so I decided that I would use the Express (Self check out) line. I was feeling smug as I scanned the items and put them into my bag and then I hit the bread……

I had NO idea what it was called or how to scan it so I quietly took everything out of my shopping bag, put it back into my basket and slinked my way back to the Check-out counters!! I have learned my lesson!!!!

There was a LOT of walking and a LOT of time on my feet, so it was good to be home again!!!