“One must now have the courage to create something wholesome and definitive,” wrote the Thun artist Alfred Glaus (1890 to 1971) in 1946 to the council of Thun, pleading for the establishment of an art museum. At that time, Thun already possessed a small art collection, which was not open to the public. The contemplation of works of art, said Glaus, had a fruitful influence on the mental attitude of the population. Glaus’ commitment had an impact. In the autumn of 1948 a museum was opened in four rooms of the Thunerhof under the name, The Art Collection of the City of Thun. Glaus himself was appointed the director of the museum. More rooms were added to the four rooms on the ground floor in the 1950s. In 2003/04 the museum premises, which now spread over nearly 1,000 square metres, was completely renovated. The collection itself functioned as a museum in the early days, but exhibitions came to be organised at certain times only in due course. Ultimately, around 1984, the art collection was renamed as “Kunstmuseum Thun”.
Today, the Kunstmuseum Thun presents four to five large alternating exhibitions. The focus is on the creation of contemporary art. The presentation of current positions and diverse, international and national trends have established the museum well beyond the region. Every year the collection is made available to the public as part of thematic exhibitions. The compilation of works are always rearranged and rediscovered. What takes place is a dialogue between the art of the past and contemporary art. Contemporary works are traced back to their historical roots.
Another window is provided by the project room enter. Beside the main exhibitions, smaller projects are implemented and exhibited here. They are mainly artistic experiments or insights into current research approaches. These projects are often developed in collaboration with universities or social organisations.
Using a multifaceted range of intermediation, art is brought closer to an interested audience.
As part of the exhibitions, workshops are offered especially for children, and specially designed tours for adults, even with sign language interpreters. The art museum is also a place for engagement and impetus: talks, discussions and lectures on works complement the exhibition programme.
Alfred Glaus (1948-1954)
Paul L. Ganz (1954-1975)
Georg J. Dolézal (1975-1999)
Madeleine Schuppli (2000-2007)
Helen Hirsch (since 2007)