Museum of Art and History

For such a small town, Neuchâtel's Art and History Museum (Musée d'Art et d'Histoire) is surprisingly good. The historical section contains a wide assortment of artifacts of everyday life of Neuchâtel's past including textiles, toys, uniforms, swords, armour, medals, coins, watches, furniture, medical instruments, mechanical birds in a cage, porcelain, glassware, 18th century robots, and much more. The fine arts section boasts collections of Neuchâtel, Swiss and French art including some French impressionist paintings.

In the Museum of Natural History (Musée d'Histoire Naturelle) Swiss mammals and birds sit, stand or fly stiff and stuffed and placed in natural settings in display cases. A vivarian contains fish, reptiles, small rodents and batrachians. Some large dinosaur fossils are on display as is the skeleton of a whale suspended by cables above you as you sit at your table in the museum café sipping your coffee. Quite good temporary exhibits pass through the museum regularly. Interesting museum for both kids and adults.

Whale skeleton above cafe tables

Artifact in Ethnography Museum

The Ethnography Museum's (Musée d'Ethnographie) permanent displays include artifacts from the time of the pharaohs, South Seas and African collections, and Kingdom of Bhutan. Temporary exhibits of one sort or another make their way to the museum every year, and are sometimes quite interesting.

Thousands of years ago Stone Age man lived in wood houses built on stilts on the shore of Lake Neuchâtel. Artifacts of this prehistoric culture and a reconstruction of a lake dwelling are found in the new Latenium Park and Archaeology Museum (Laténium, parc et Musée d'Archéology) on the lake shore of the town of Hauterive at Avenue Du Peyrou 7, ten minutes drive from downtown Neuchâtel.

Stone age lake-dwellers stilt house reconstruction

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Salle Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a citizen of Geneva, lived from 1712 to 1788. His many controversial books earned him popularity among many, but also anger from government and religious authorities. As a result he was sometimes 'on the run.' One of the places he ran to was Môtiers a little village in the Travers Valley in present day Switzerland where he lived for about three years. He would have lived longer in this small, quiet, idyllic village if he had not been, more or less, chased out of town.