Temporary exhibitions

« LIGHT! Lighting in ancient times »

This exhibition was subsequently hosted by the Historisches Museum, Olten, (3 June to 17 October 2004) as well as by the Roman Museum, Avenches,(13 May to 2 October 2005).

Dates : 15.05.2003 - 25.04.2004

Before the electric light bulb …

How did people live in ancient times, once the sun had gone down, and they were inside their homes, public buildings or places of recreation?
Dazzled as we are nowadays by artificial lighting, how can we imagine our forebears living, loving, laughing, working, partying or going to shows without the aid of electric light, multi-coloured spotlights, centre lights, or neon or halogen lights, lighted only by little flames similar to our candles, or at best by torches or candelabra which gave slightly more light?
While making no claim to exhaustive coverage of a subject that would undoubtedly leave room for other approaches, the Roman Museum’s exhibition reveals a very specific and multi-facetted aspect of the daily life of people in ancient times. With the organizer of the exhibition, Laurent Chrzanovski, and thanks to the collaboration of many other people, particularly the museums which were willing to lend us exhibits, the Museum has been able to bring together more than one hundred and fifty lamps, lanterns, candelabra and lamp stands to constitute a sort of “best of” examples of ancient lighting discovered or preserved in Switzerland.

Articles on sale at the shop of the Museum (30 chf):
« Lumière ! L’éclairage dans l’Antiquité. » Une exposition itinérante conçue par le Musée romain
de Nyon, Suisse. Textes de L. Chrzanovski. Milan : éd. ET, 2006 (seconde édition), 120 p. : plus de 200 ill. coul.

The catalogue presents more than thirty different types of lamps and other objects, for the most part unpublished previously, testifying both to the evolution of craft techniques and to the tastes and affinities of our ancestors in the course of more than two millennia of history.

Scientific Congress
In conjunction with the “Light!” exhibition, the 1st International Study Congress on Ancient Lighting Devices was held in Nyon from 29 September to 4 October 2003.

The ILA, a new association
The Congress was the occasion for the founding of the International Lychnological Association (ILA), the goal of which is to unite researchers active in field of ancient lighting devices in a federation and organize periodic round tables and congresses. You can visit the web site at http://www.lychnology.org.


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