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10 May 2011

While it is being renovated, The Olympic Museum could welcome visitors on Lake Geneva!

The Olympic Museum will remain active in Lausanne during the major renovation works it will be undergoing from spring 2012 to autumn 2013. Visitors could be welcomed on a boat belonging to the Compagnie générale de navigation [General Navigation Company] (CGN) moored in front of The Museum, on the quai de Belgique.

Seven variants for a provisional museum were studied, with a view to ensuring that The Olympic Museum can continue to have a living presence in Lausanne for the 20-month duration of its renovation works. The option of mooring a CGN boat in direct proximity to The Olympic Museum and Park is favoured, as long as the technical, administrative and financial issues are settled. The project, which would require, in particular, a provisional rocky wall to be constructed for protection purposes, should be submitted to a public inquiry in the next few weeks.

The Helvétie

The MS Helvétie would be the temporary setting for The Olympic Museum. This Belle Époque boat, one of the largest in the CGN fleet, has not been used for the last nine years, after 75 years sailing on Lake Geneva. Its 600m2 of exhibition space would allow us to display a significant portion of our Olympic patrimony. Entry would be free and would allow the visitors unaware of the provisional closure of The Museum to find a particularly attractive place to stop off in direct proximity to where they initially planned to visit. Between 100,000 and 200,000 visitors are expected during the renovation period, according to initial estimates. 

Support from the City of Lausanne and Lausanne Tourisme

In favouring this option, the International Olympic Committee is showing its attachment to the Olympic Capital, as well as to the local patrimony. The provisional reuse of this paddle steamer would contribute to the conservation measures needed during its immobilisation. The project is being developed in close collaboration and with the full support of the Lausanne City Council and Lausanne Tourisme. Claude Petitpierre, Lausanne Tourisme Director, explains: “We are pleased to see a substitution project being developed which is attractive and original and will assure the continuity of the presence of The Olympic Museum, which is one of our main tourist attractions.”

After 17 years of success, and more than 3.3 million visitors, French-speaking Switzerland’s most popular museum will be renovated and adapted to the latest standards in terms of security, environmental respect and working conditions. After the work, which is estimated to take some 20 months, the museographic approach will be entirely revamped, and will incorporate the latest technological innovations. The Park will also be overhauled so as to create a veritable link with the neighbouring Élysée Museum.

Planning permission requests for both the building and the park will be submitted to a public inquiry between now and this summer. In the best-case scenario, work could start in February or March 2012.

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