Over a century after Charlie Chaplin made his first film, the mustachioed Little Tramp remains one of the most recognizable, and beloved, movie characters of all time. Now, in celebration of the famed performer, a new museum called Chaplin’s World has opened in Switzerland.
Chaplin’s World is located in the village of Corsier-sur-Vevey on Chaplin’s former estate. Though the comedian was born in London, and spent most of his career in Hollywood, he was pushed out of America in the 1950s, accused of Communist sympathies during the height of McCarthyism. He spent the last 25 years of his life with his wife and children on the sprawling Swiss estate.
The Telegraph reports that Chaplin’s World is officially open for business, after 15 years of planning. The museum is divided into three sections: the home where Chaplin spent his final years (the manoir), a re-created film studio featuring iconic props (including the Tramp’s hat and cane) and replicas of famous sets, and the 10-acre park surrounding Chaplin’s home. While the manoir focuses on Chaplin’s personal life, giving visitors a glimpse into the man behind the movies, the studio lets them get immersed in Chaplin’s films, transporting guests back to the early days of Hollywood. Visitors can wander through a replica of the little cabin from The Gold Rush (1925), see the iconic machinery from Modern Times (1936), and even stroll down a recreated Hollywood Boulevard.
“He was able to live a normal life here. He found the right life-work balance here in Switzerland. In England, he was really poor; in the United States, he was really successful in his career and money-wise; but his real happiness was here for 25 years,” museum director Jean-Pierre Pigeon told The Associated Press.
Pigeon also said: “... there was one thing [Chaplin] was scared of: being forgotten. So this is a good way to broaden his notoriety.”
Chaplin’s son Michael told reporters: ”This is a museum in movement, it is not static. It is like the character to whom it pays tribute.”