Gewerbemuseum (english)



Permanent exhibition


Collection of samples and exhibits

Interactive laboratory for studying materials

Please touch! From glass, metal, wood, paper, plastic and stone to ceramics, colour pigments, textiles and leather – the permanent MATERIAL ARCHIV exhibition is an innovative laboratory where visitors young and old can study materials. In autumn 2016 the collection took an important step forward when this long-term project entered its latest phase. Comprehensive information about sometimes complex materials is presented in an entirely new way in a kind of three-dimensional textbook. Detailed background knowledge of a huge range of materials, processing techniques and manufacturing procedures is described in a manner suited to each target group and illustrated with numerous sample display objects and explanatory visualizations. Interested members of the public, professional experts, vocational colleges and universities with a focus on technical and design subjects, as well as school classes at all levels, can gain a soundly based, interactive insight into the endless variety of the world of materials by means of this exhibition, with its online database of around 1000 specimen materials, new experiment tables, video and audio stations, and library. The MATERIAL ARCHIV has thus been transformed into a workshop for pleasurable learning, as well as a place for browsing, speculating, research and discovery.


Interdisciplinary network

The online database is a kind of extended digital reference work on materials, which is managed and regularly updated by several prestigious Swiss educational institutions in the fields of design, architecture and art. This database may be accessed online, but it is also linked by scanners to every single specimen material in the exhibition rooms of the Gewerbemuseum. This link-up between the database and the specimen collection allows significant knowledge about materials to be generated, enabling the Gewerbemuseum to provide a deep and wide-ranging insight into the world of materials.


MATERIAL ARCHIV is cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary. The following institutions currently support the network:

S1 Collection 1: Gewerbemuseum Winterthur

S2 Collection 2: Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts - School of Engineering and Architecture

S3 Collection 3: Sitterwerk Centre for Art and Cultural Economy, St. Gallen

S4 Collection 4: Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)

S5 Collection 5: Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts – School of Design and Art

S6 Collection 6: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich

S7 Collection 7: Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), Winterthur

S8 Collection 8: Bern University of the Arts (HKB)

To the MATERIAL ARCHIV online database