About the origin of the exhibition: At the beginning of the 1990s, Stefan Gratzer and the association Naturworld, of which he was the founder and chairman, had the idea to create an exhibition with the title "Bullfinch & Co. The aim of this exhibition was to show as many species of bullfinches from all over the world as possible. These were then to be made accessible to interested visitors in schools as well as in various exhibition rooms. An own museum in the future should be a further step of the association. To realize this exhibition project, the taxidermist Stefan Gratzer contacted private bird keepers and zoos in Austria and Germany with the request to give him deceased bullfinches free of charge for this exhibition. Since the majority of all Bullfinch species on earth are found in the Himalayas, the foundation stone for the present exhibition was indirectly laid! In addition to the bullfinches, bird breeders and zoos also provided other species free of charge, which are now also showpieces of this exhibition. All animals shown in the exhibition Himalayan habitat come from captivity, where they died a natural death and were not taken from nature for this exhibition.
Over the years, Stefan Gratzers personal interest in the subject of the Himalayan habitat grew and by chance he got hold of a doctoral thesis entitled "Ornithological results of two research trips to Tibet". After reading this, the decision was finally made to create a more comprehensive exhibition on the wildlife of the Himalayas. In the course of developing this task, Stefan Gratzer's interest in the cultures of this region also grew. He thus began to collect old photos as well as everyday objects from Tibet and the surrounding countries.
Some of the photos shown in the exhibition we are allowed to show with the kind permission of the German Federal Archives in Koblenz. They were provided free of charge for educational and teaching purposes for the exhibition. All these photos can be found on the internet under the title "Bundesarchiv Titel Tibet". Other photos, as well as ethnographic objects, are all owned by the Salzkammergut Nature Museum, which makes the objects available through its exhibition loan service.
About the current exhibition in the Haus der Berge: In 2017 there was a first working meeting between Dipl. Biologe Ulrich Brendel and Stefan Gratzer, where it was decided to jointly plan and design a special exhibition for the Haus der Berge, with the title "Habitat Himalaya". During several working meetings, a selection of the objects that will now be shown in the exhibition was determined. The focus of the selection was on the beauty and unusualness of the endemic species of this natural region. These were selected from the multitude of possible objects available in the Salzkammergut Nature Museum. The same was done with the photographs and the ethnographic objects. After the selection was made and the exhibition date was fixed, the team of two Stefan and Alexander Gratzer, both zoological taxidermists at the Naturmuseum Salzkammergut, began with the construction and design of the dioramas for this special exhibition. Dipl. Biologist Ulrich Brendel assisted them in an advisory capacity. With this exhibition, we think, for the first time a combination of topics about the Himalaya is shown, whose main focus is not only the religions of the highest mountain range on earth, but the habitats with their fauna and their people.
An excerpt of this exhibition is currently on display at the Salzkammergut Museum of Nature!