Pascal Hufschmid, Director of the Museum. Credits: Red Cross Museum

Pascal Hufschmid, Director of the Museum. Credits: Red Cross Museum

A mandatory and humanitarian stop when visiting Geneva
Interested in exploring humanitarian actions artistically expressed? We spoke with Pascal Hufschmid, Executive Director of the Red Cross Museum
7 Jan 2024

Through your exhibitions and as a museum as a whole, what are the messages you aim to deliver to your visitors?

Through all our activities, we ask a key question: how does humanitarian action concern us all, here and now? Reflecting on humanitarian action from our own life experience, whatever it may be, rather than associating it with an idea of elsewhere and otherness, is close to our hearts. We also hope that visitors leave the museum with more questions than they had when they arrived!

How do you select which Red Cross missions to feature in the museum?

It is essential that our visitors can explore the incredible diversity of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s missions throughtime and space.

To encourage personal reflection, we highlight issues that cut across many different missions. For example, we have recently produced several projects relating to the representation of humanitarian action, mental health within and beyond the humanitarian sector, and digital dilemmas.

Podcast | Histoires d’objets – © Caroline Stevan | Sound editing © Nathan Wyssa

What are the main lessons you have learned during the five years of your management?

I have learned a lot from and with my colleagues and continue to learn every day. Going through the COVID crisis helped me understand that, in the face of uncertainty, it is better to act on instinct, values and collective intelligence, even if it means making mistakes.

What do you think the main challenges facing the museum will be in 2024?

In 2024, we begin a new 5-year strategic phase centred around the gradual redesign of our permanent exhibition in the run-up to our 40th anniversary in 2028. This is very exciting and opens so many new perspectives! In January, we will be finalizing the redesign of our reception areas and inaugurating a new conference room. In the spring, we will be opening a new café! We look forward to establishing ourselves as a warm and welcoming place at the heart and service of international Geneva.

Podcast: Chain and padlock – © Caroline Stevan | Sound editing © Nathan Wyssa | Sound recording © Pierre-Antoine Possa | With the participation of Jean-Pierre Gontard and Loane Monge

Do you plan to enable virtual visits for the younger generations who live in other countries and cannot travel to Switzerland?

From my point of view, a museum is not just a place. Above all, it is a producer of content that can take many forms, in Geneva, abroad and online. Specifically, in the digital domain, we produce a wide range of content available on our website. This can take the form of publications available for free download, podcasts, or even playlists on Spotify, as we recently did with the Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation. This means that audiences living abroad, whatever their age, have plenty of opportunities to discover and explore our contents.

Is there an exhibition that has not been created yet that you would like to see promoted in the future?

There are so many! In the autumn of 2024, we will take a deep dive into the sound archives of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement through a pioneering exhibition dedicated to the voice. What are the sounds of humanitarian action? Whose voices do we hear? We are collaborating with several universities and an art school to explore this fascinating heritage from multiple perspectives.

The redesign of our permanent exhibition over the next five years is a major challenge because we want to carry it out gradually, with the help of our public. The aim is to create an impermanent exhibition that reflects the constant evolution of humanitarian action. Stay tuned!

* Julián Ginzo is a member of the Editorial Board of UN Today.
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