While both the stunning natural beauty and the incredible outdoor activities are the main draw to Switzerland's lovely mountain village of Scuol, that doesn't mean you can't take some time to enjoy the other unique attractions that are found in the area. Those who are interested in history are sure to enjoy some time spent at the popular Museum d'Engiadina Bassa, which is also known as the Lower Engadine Museum. Read on to learn more about this regional home and folklore museum, and you're sure to want to check out this exceptional trip back in time during your stay in Scuol.
About the Museum
The structure that houses the museum is an exhibit in itself, and it's known as the Cha Gronda, which means big house. It's an old Patrician home, which refers to the homes owned by the upper-class citizens of ancient Rome, and it includes several medieval buildings. These have been standing for quite some time, and they were renovated between the years of 1702 and 1704 to increase the size of the property.
The Permanent Display
Long before Scuol became a premier vacation destination, its early inhabitants were self-sufficient farmers who prospered thanks to their excellent agricultural abilities. The main exhibit is centered around the traditional Engadine farmhouse and all of the items and equipment that were needed for daily living, survival and farming in those early days when electric power wasn't even something that people could imagine. You'll enjoy time spent on each level of the home, and these are just a few things that you may expect to see.
The First Floor
You'll enter the museum through the lower hall, and you'll immediately see an entrance area that is filled with weapons and hunting rifles. These were kept for purposes of hunting for food as well as self-defense. From there, you'll enter the Stuva Gronda living room that boasts copper engravings, maps, coins and various carvings. This room also houses the very first Rhaeto-Romance Bible, which was produced in the Scuoler Druckerei in 1679. Next is the kitchen with its open hearth, kitchenware and early appliances, and that is followed by the pantry that houses some amazing prehistoric finds discovered in Scuol and the surrounding area.
The Second Floor
You'll head upstairs next for a look at a sled, traditional clothing and costumes, a four-poster bed, textiles and a loom that was once used to make clothing, towels and bedding for the entire family. This floor also houses a traditional living room from the 1700s and another living room that represents the living space of emigrated confectioners from the nearby village of Sent in 1855.
The Third Floor
Another flight of stairs takes you to the final floor of the home, and you'll see a handmade cradle for the youngest family member and a living room right out of 1550. There's also a screened-in room that was used as a bedroom with full furnishings.
This museum boasts an astounding selection of old agricultural and historical items, and these include a carriage and hose used for fighting fires in 1795, early skis, sledges and a high-wheeled bicycle. You'll see an old watermill from the village of Ftan and equipment that was once used to work the fields and meadows, process grain and work wood into usable tools. There's also a special carriage used to navigate steep mountain slopes, an old barn and an underground milk cellar that is filled with everything needed to process fresh milk.
These change from time to time, and one of the most popular special exhibitions is the Romance Song Culture exhibit. It chronicles some 150 years of Scuol music that includes regional songs, manuscripts, plates and pictures. Music has been very important to the people of Scuol for a great many years, and it shows in this fine exhibit.
The Museum Library
Part of your visit to the museum includes admission to its library, which houses an excellent collection of Romanesque literature, Romansh periodicals, regional topics, annual books, writings on the Swiss National Park and balneology literature, which refers to the study of the local medicinal springs and therapeutic bathing. While no books may be borrowed, visitors are free to stay as long as they like to read. You're also welcome to visit the library without touring the museum.
When to Visit
The museum is open every day other than Saturday and Monday during the months of June through October, and it remains closed during the months of November through May due to the weather conditions. Visitors are welcome to drop in with no need for reservations unless a party contains 10 or more individuals. During the open season, a special tour is available for both the museum and the village of Scuol each Monday, and this does require a reservation.