Discover our museum
History of the St. Bernard and its region of origin
The museum in Barryland is dedicated to the Swiss national dog, the St. Bernard. St. Bernard dogs originate on the legendary Great St. Bernard Pass, not far from Martigny; they bear this provenance in their name. Delve into the rich past of the mountain pass and discover the stories surrounding the legendary avalanche dogs and the courageous Barry l. In honour of the memorable deeds of this famous rescue dog, St. Bernards are still called “Barry” today. Discover, too, what the descendants of the former avalanche dogs do nowadays.
Follow in Barry’s footsteps as he guides you around the display. Forming the central themes of the museum are Barry’s five character traits “Playmate”, “Rescuer”, “Friend”, “Bon vivant” and “Star”. The museum contains art objects and items that have shaped the history of the hospice and of the Great St. Bernard Pass and its dogs. It also tells of arduous pilgrimages over the Great St. Bernard in the time around 1850, and presents pictures and artefacts of armies that negotiated the pass. We also look at St. Bernards in advertising and film, and the new role our dogs play in terms of animal-assisted intervention.
“Of Dogs and People”: St. Bernards in photographs
The Congregation of Canons of the Great St. Bernard Hospice and their dogs are inextricably linked in the long history of the Great St. Bernard. They form part of the legend and the centuries-long lived tradition of the hospice. The canons symbolise unwavering devotion to the traveller, the dog all that an animal’s noble instinct can do to save people lost in the mountains.
The photographs document the unique relationship forged between the clergy and these large, lovable animals. Taken from the rich holdings of the Mediatheque Valais – Martigny and the collection of the Great St. Bernard Hospice, these superb images feature in Barryland’s special exhibition of around 100 historical photographs.
Open every day from 09:30 am to 5:30 pm. Last entry at 4:30 pm.
Note our admission prices for families and special offers.