For just over one hundred years there were no bears in Switzerland, until in 2005 JJ2, popularly named Lumpaz, appeared.
In 1997, to prepare the population for an eventual return of the bear, the Swiss National Park opened the Bear Exhibition at the Schmelzra Museum.
Here visitors can take a look at historical scenes, discover how bears live, their biology and the likelihood of their return to the region. The exhibition is ideal for children.
The last bear in Switzerland, shot by Jon Sarott Bischoff and Padruot Fried in 1904, is on show in the history section of the exhibition. A bear trap, to original scale, shows the horrible way in which bears were persecuted.
In another section of the exhibition visitors are shown the type of habitat a bear demands, and the distribution of bear populations in Europe today. The latest information concerning developments in Switzerland and neighbouring lands is periodically updated.
In 1999 the exhibition was awarded the Prix Media. The jury praised the concept of the exhibition for its realistic approach and educational quality.
The concise and easily understandable information is written in German and Romansch. Accompanying texts are available in French, Italian and English.
The Schmelzra museum also serves as a decentralized National Park information centre, with a digital visitor information point, a video facility, and shop.
Close by the museum an open-air exhibit gives visitors the opportunity to put their knowledge of bears to the test, and learn more.