The Museum and the Library collect and showcase the region’s heritage. Founded in 1917 thanks to the generosity of the writer and journalist Victor Tissot, the institution took up residence in 1923 in the Hôtel Moderne and moved to the existing building in 1978. Models of the town of Bulle (1722, 1912, 2002) and permanent circular walk La Gruyère, footprints and detours.
Bulle became the administrative centre of the Gruyère district in 1848. From 1868, plans for a museum circulated in the town and the region: the botanist and priest Jean-Joseph Chenaux and the painter Joseph Reichlen tried to open a natural history centre and a local art museum, but without success.
In 1917, Bulle inherited the fortune of Victor Tissot, a journalist and writer originally from Fribourg who later lived in Paris. The founder of the Almanach Hachette and the editor of Figaro Littéraire and numerous other publications, he became rich by writing a vitriolic portrait of Prussian Germany entitled Voyage au pays des milliards. Tissot bequeathed all his wealth to create a museum and a library worthy of the name in Bulle.
Chaired by the industrialist Lucien Despond, a committee began searching for historic objects with the help of Hans Lehmann, Director of the Swiss National Museum. The museum’s first curator, Philippe Aebischer, was a friend of Tissot. He sent entire wagon loads of objects and works of art from Paris, acquired from house clearances and antique dealers.
After initial plans to site the attraction in the castle, the museum and library were housed in the old Hôtel Moderne. Due to a disagreement with the local authorities, Philippe Aebischer was replaced in 1923 by Henri Naef. This historian from Geneva, a specialist in the Reformation, added to collections and made the local region the new focus of the museum; with his successor Henri Gremaud he became an ardent defender of rural and traditional La Gruyère.
The Society of Friends of the Musée gruérien was founded in 1974. A systematic and illustrated inventory of the museum’s collections was created the same year under the supervision of Denis Buchs, who was appointed director and curator in 1979. In 1978, the construction of a new building, the creation of a new permanent exhibition and the organisation of a programme of temporary exhibitions showcased the richness of collections and gave the institution a new lease of life. The library’s collections were computerized and linked to the French-speaking heritage network (RERO) in 1998. The building was enlarged in 2001. The following year, the institution became a school library for the Bulle-Morlon circle. The computerized inventory of the museum’s collections was begun in 2005.
Isabelle Raboud-Schüle was appointed director and curator in 2006. A new permanent exhibition, “La Gruyère, footprints and detours” was opened on 3 February 2012 in the presence of Federal Councillor Alain Berset, in an entirely renovated building.
© Musée gruérien
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Le Musée gruérien, Cahiers du Musée gruérien, n°7, 2009.
Inauguration of the Musée gruérien on 3 June 1978. Speech by Federal Councillor Hans Hürlimann.