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The Olympic Museum Turns 30: From Dream To The World’s Largest Collection Of Olympic Heritage

Child looks at medals in the olympic museum

The Olympic Museum is home to nearly 100,000 iconic objects, such as Usain Bolt’s Beijing 2008 jersey and the swimsuit Michael Phelps wore when he won his first gold medal.

Located in the Olympic Capital of Lausanne, Switzerland, the museum has welcomed nearly six million visitors since its opening on 23 June, 1993.

olympic museum visitors

Now known as the world’s largest and most complete collection of Olympic heritage, including 900,000 images, 58,000 hours of film, 1.25 linear kilometres of archival documents and 38,000 publications, more than a century ago, the Olympic Museum was no more than a dream.

Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games and the museum’s first collection, hoped to establish a permanent home for the history of the Games.

With the museum’s 1993 inauguration on the shores of Lake Geneva, his long-held ambition of a place to share sport, culture, education and the Olympic values with the world was achieved.

olympic museum

“In the span of three decades, the museum has become not only the universal centre for the memory of the Games, but also a place for reflection, interaction, dialogue and programming around the values of excellence, respect, friendship and solidarity that they convey,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.

“We are more than mere bricks and mortar; we represent stories. We help tell the tales of Olympians and the countless narratives of creators, builders, artists and volunteers who have shaped this remarkable Olympic Movement,” said Angelita Teo, Director of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage.

Today, the museum engages hundreds of thousands of visitors each year through its permanent and temporary exhibitions, educational tours, school activities, cultural programming, library and Olympic Studies Centre, conferences and corporate events.

“As we commemorate our 30th anniversary this year, we recognise all those who have helped us lay the groundwork for a future where the Olympic Museum continues to captivate hearts and minds,” said Teo. “Special thanks to the city of Lausanne and our surrounding community for their three decades of support.”

The museum’s official birthday celebration will take place in person on 24 June with a full programme of activities, Olympian guests, guided tours of the library and archives, sports demonstrations and family fun.

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