Foundation and Development of the Museum
The town of Schaffhausen built the Museum zu Allerheiligen from 1921 until 1938 to house and present the large artistic, cultural and historical collections which associations and private persons had brought together over decades. The museum was intended to convey a comprehensive picture of the culture of Schaffhausen and in this sense to be not only a “standard museum” but also an “exemplary museum of local history” (the then town president Walter Bringolf in the festschrift for the opening of the museum 1938). A further aim was to conserve the former All Saints monastery’s grounds, which were threatened by decay, by integrating them into the museum’s complex.
The Swiss State Museum in Zurich served as an important model which the town of Schaffhausen emulated on a regional level. The builder of the State Museum Gustav Gull was then initially chosen as architect. Disappointed by his proposals, the town council, in the course of the project planning, decided on the architect Martin Risch from Chur who created in his own words “a purely functional shell for the valuable core: the collections”. On the occasion of the opening, the then director of the State Museum acclaimed “with this marvellous achievement Schaffhausen has set an example which must be heeded”.
During the first decades, the Museum zu Allerheiligen showed exhibitions in the fields of archaeology, history and art which were primarily orientated towards the categories arts and crafts and laid out in chronologically divided tours. An important extension to the museum was the integration of the natural history collections and the setting up of a permanent natural history exhibition, which replaced the Natural History Museum destroyed in the war. Since then the museum has also regularly organised special natural history exhibitions.
Picture: a view of the inner courtyard of the museum 1938
(Photograph: C. Koch, Schaffhausen)