A field survey of conservation of modern cultural properties in France, Switzerland, and Germany

Exhibit depicting a train derailed by sabotage efforts of the Resistance during the War (la Cité du Train (Musée français du chemin de fer), Mulhouse, France)
A sightseeing submersible under restoration (Verkehrshaus der Schweiz, Lucerne, Switzerland)
Precisely aligned automobiles (la Cité de l’automobile (Musée national de l’Automobile), Mulhouse, France)
Road signs as exterior decorations (Verkehrshaus der Schweiz, Lucerne, Switzerland)

 From March 8 (Tues.) – 14 (Mon.), the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques conducted a field survey of conservation and restoration of trains, automobiles, and aircraft in France and Switzerland. The Center also conducted an on-site study of conservation of blast furnaces in Germany. In Mulhouse, France, the la Cité du Train (Musée français du chemin de fer) and la Cité de l’automobile (Musée national de l’Automobile) were surveyed. The number of train cars and automobiles kept by both museums was both considerable and impressive. Train cars were arranged with ample space for exhibits and there was no sense of being closed in, as is often found in railroad museums. Train cars were kept indoors and properly stored. Cars were diligently repainted since this is an aspect visitors would notice, though this aspect did have some drawbacks. Nevertheless, there were various twists in the way exhibits were laid out and the museum is interesting enough to warrant repeat visits. The automobile museum was extremely neat and felt like a museum for car buffs, which is probably the result of the collection being based on automobiles that were originally privately owned. Although the cars were obviously well preserved, many of the cars were resting directly on their tires and marks on those tires were evident.
 The Verkehrshaus der Schweiz, located beside Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, was surveyed. The museum grounds are over 2000 square meters and feature a space where children can play in the center with exhibit halls surrounding it. The impressive museum showcases items related to transportation. Although there was an undeniable sense that the collection was somewhat mix-and-match overall, seeing so many things in one place was a joy. Most of the exhibits were made of iron and the museum had apparently taken pains to rust-proof portions touched by visitors. The last site surveyed was an ironworks in Germany. Although its style is found throughout Europe, the facility was extremely interesting in the sense that it appeared to have mostly ceased operations and remained in that state. One hand is used on facilities for visitor safety (handrails, the elevator, and walkways) although the hands are not used elsewhere, a fact that makes the site extremely interesting. Having such a site in Japan would obviously be rather difficult because of the numerous legal constraints and need for evacuation routes in the event of a fire.

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