Museum Walserhaus Gurin, Bosco Gurin, Switzerland


The museum which has won this award for 2021 stands out as an exemplary case of social sustainability within a rural context. It is located high up in the mountains and for several months faces adverse weather conditions. Its community that runs it in the most agile way is highly committed and effective in safeguarding its culture, its traditions and their work as a collective that organises numerous activities around the tangible and intangible cultural and natural patrimony of its territory.


Museum Walserhaus Gurin is a territorial community museum owned by Gurin Walserhaus Museum Association. Located in Bosco Gurin at 1500m, the highest village in Ticino that is inhabited throughout the year, it consists of several buildings within the village. Founded in 1938 as an ethnographic museum, Museum Walserhaus Gurin has recently undertaken an extensive redevelopment of its main building and Barn 1.

The Association and its community of volunteers who run the Museum have three goals: to present the history and culture of the Gurin Walser community and other Walser communities; to care for the cultural and linguistic heritage of the Gurin Walser; and to support, encourage and 34 deepen knowledge and understanding of Gurin Walser’s origins, history, language, and customs among the local community and beyond.

This is a vibrant community museum with a team of very committed volunteers who love their place of origin and do everything necessary to keep it alive. The human capital of the museum is its greatest value. The way the members of the team complement each other, take responsibilities and support togetherness is outstanding. The volunteers collectively give about 1,200 hours of their time to the museum each year. Despite its limited resources, Museum Walserhaus Gurin is thus able to offer a wide range of topical activities, involving members of its community from different walks of life: enthusiastic historians, linguists, photographers, musicians and singers, geologists, botanists, biologists, herbalists, woodworkers, weavers, seamstresses, hill farmers, and translators.

The resilient existence and agile work of a museum in a village that experiences extreme weather conditions during the winter and its endeavour to safeguard and disseminate the tangible and intangible heritage of Bosco Gurin culture to new generations stand out as an exemplary case of social sustainability within a rural and museum context.

Source: EMYA2021 Winners Brochure

"To have won the Meyvaert Prize for Sustainability makes us very proud, and we are thankful to all the EMYA staff, judges and referees. The prize shows us that we are on the right track, it gives us the impetus to continue, it strengthens even more the feeling of togetherness in the whole village and arouses more interest on the part of the public.

Everyone was extremely happy, especially because they are all part of the museum, each according to his or her abilities, and because all have contributed in one way or another to making it possible. What characterises our museum is the lifeblood, the bond with the village and the "people", the passion, the friendship and mutual appreciation, the modesty. To us, every action, decision and activity must show respect for history, tradition, landscape and for the people. It must pursue the goal of contributing to peace-building in the most diverse ways, promoting tolerance and mutual appreciation and showing openness towards the "other".

We will continue in this direction: thank you for sustaining us by this great appreciation."

Museum Walserhaus Bosco Gurin 

Photo captions and credits: 

First photo: Traditions - Starsingers © Museum Walserhaus Gurin

Second photo: Thematic Room on Religion © Museum Walserhaus Gurin