Red Cross Museum

Bon soir! This afternoon we visited the Red Cross Museum in Geneva.

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The museum had three architects who constructed the three wings of the museum. One was Brazilian, one was Japanese, and one was from Burkina Faso. They were overseen by a Swiss architect. The inside of the museum was so classy and sophisticated.

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This engraving roughly translates to “Each is responsible for all, before all.” The themes of the museum are 1. Defending Human Dignity. 2. Restoring Family Links. 3. Reducing Natural Risks.

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One of the first sights we beheld was a circular room filled with moving people. While they were projections, they were filmed while looking at the camera. They had the appearance of being alive, much like Skyping or Facetiming someone. They each have a unique story. We listened to these stories throughout our museum visit.

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A photo of the first Red Cross ever used.

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These different voodoo dolls represent a mother, father, and child. The patterns on the dolls coordinate with stories of people who have suffered injustices and tragedies.

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This giant foot protruding out of the ceiling stood on top of a screen that showed images of hardship. Clips from the Holocaust, tsunamis, and starvation showed across the ground. I think it was to symbolize how much people continue in their daily lives without giving thought to the suffering going on around them.

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Part of the architecture done by the Japanese man. He focused mostly on cylinders that looked like they were made out of compacted cardboard.

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We moved on to a room that had a touchscreen table. We played a game where all of us, together, had to build a safe island. Jobs were created, trees were planted, shelters were built. Then, a tsunami hit. After the wave passed, the computer showed how good of a job you had done. We ended up saving only half of the people. I didn’t think much of the game at first, but it shows how we need to work together to help underdeveloped and countries in need. It takes everyone working as a team to successfully reduce natural risks.

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These were some pictures of the first nurses in history, and those working for the Red Cross.

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We walked through a small room filled with chains hanging from the ceilings. They made an irritating high-pitched noise when they clanged together.

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The museum had files and files of original medical cards of people they’ve helped over time. We walked down several aisles of these.

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This wall was covered with the faces of children from Rwanda. After the genocide that occurred when the country split, over 7,000 children were separated from their parents. The Red Cross went in and took pictures of the children. They were showed in towns and reconnected over 4,000 children with their parents. This is only half of the faces. The photographs continue up the wall.

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The layout of the museum was so tasteful. It had a very somber feel, which was extremely appropriate, considering the emphasis put on hardship, tragedies, and disaster. It really made one think about the world we live in.

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The most interesting room, in my opinion, was one that had a wall that was a giant computer screen. Something very unique about this museum is that a majority of the exhibits are hand-on. The fibers roll and change color, ranging from red to green to white. They continue to roll until someone puts his hand on it. Then, the fibers swirl and change direction. Physical touch draws the fibers to a common point.

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When people change their values and actions, they can change the world. By choosing to step in, we can make a difference in the world.

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This is Njord and me trying out the wall. It was really fun to see the wave formations all come to a centralized point. When he held the wall for a long time, the light became so small he could hide it under his hand. It takes a few minutes for the wall to get back to its full grandeur. We were really interested by the movements and patterns and spent a fair amount of time testing it.

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Sadly, our tour came to an end with only a few minutes of spare time. I would have liked to stay longer and hear each person’s stories, but there wasn’t the time. There was a Nespresso machine in the lobby. For one Frank we had delicious cups of some kind of coffee that started with an L. (It was in Italian and frankly, I didn’t come here to learn Italian).

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We loaded the bus and headed back to school. If you are in Geneva ever, I would definitely recommend the Red Cross Museum. It’s right across the street from the United Nations headquarters, so you could kill two birds with one stone. Sorry for the long post, but I was just so interested in all of the history, culture, and thought-provoking ideas I was exposed to.

Hope your week has been nice. It’s almost the weekend! Yay! Ciao.




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