History of the amis (summary)

In view of its location, its bold architecture, its avant-garde museological design, the Musée international d’horlogerie in La Chaux-de-Fonds, inaugurated in 1974, is unique in the world. It owns and magnificently presents treasures of art and ingenuity : everything to do with time measurement from the Antique period until our day…And even tomorrow.

Although the collections of the MIH are rich and varied, the museum cannot content itself  with this brilliant achievement. It has to constantly remain dynamic and radiate continuously for the edification, enrichment and pleasure of present and future generations.

It was with this aim that, on the occasion of the inauguration of the magnificent carillon – a remarkable piece which, just by itself, « is worth the visit » - the Association of the Amis du Musée international d’Horlogerie – amisMIH was formed.

31st May 1980 The inauguration of the monumental mobile and chiming sculpture, the Carillon, marked the date of the accomplishment of an entire project. The building of the  Musée international d’horlogerie was completed with this symbolic sculpture. On the same day, the President of the commission of the Musée international d'horlogerie, Mr Pierre Imhof, officially announced the creation of an association of the amis du Musée international d'horlogerie.

2nd December 1980 Constitution of the association of the amis du Musée international d'horlogerie "amisMIH” and adoption of the statutes of the association which stipulate that all membership fees and donations have to be used for the purchase of collection items.

1980 – 1989 Presidency under Jean-Édouard Friedrich. During his presidency, the young association makes itself known in the different circles close to the museum. Rapidly the association had 300 members and contributed to the expansion of the collection.

1989 – 1998 Presidency under Pierre Steinmann. He continued his predecessor's efforts of promotion. Under his presidency, two main items were purchased by the amisMIH : the painting, « L’horloger et sa famille » (the Watchmaker and his Family) by the artist Zuber-Bühler and the table clock « La prémonition aux tiroirs » (the Premonition of Drawers) by Dali.

1998 - 2009 Presidency under Claude Laesser. Under his propulsion, the Association of the amisMIH adopted new statutes. A new category of sponsoring members was recognised in the statutes. New measures made it possible, among other things, to use a small part of the membership fees and donations for the stimulation of the association. This change bore its first fruit in 1999 when an afternoon of watch-making stories was organised.

2000  The first sponsoring members were registered.

2005 The line of 50 sponsoring members was crossed. Purchase of the Landeck clock with geographical indication.

In May the sponsoring members were invited to discover the treasures of the exhibitions and of the library to make them aware of the possibilities of co-operation which could be envisaged with the museum.

The modification of the statutes offered the possibility to the committee of the amisMIH to decide with the Management of the museum how the funds available could be used for the purchase of items which could then be identified as donated by the amisMIH.

2008 In response to the expectations of the amisMIH and on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the frescoes of « La conquête du temps » (The conquest of time) by Hans Erni, the MIH organised an exhibition relating at the same time the major event which was the World Exhibition in Brussels. The Association des amisMIH became involved in the highlighting of these frescoes, from an artistic as well as didactic angle and had a DVD produced. This DVD can also be used to promote the MIH.

2009  Presidency under Lise Berthet. A bureau is formed around the presidency, composed of four people each with a specific task: Michel Ditisheim, in charge of relations with the sponsors, Irène Brossard, activities, Jean-Luc Renck, organisation of events.

In June, the sponsors were invited to discover the restoration work on the Vachey clock.


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