The exhibition (Napoleons Ende: St. Helena, Arenenberg und die Geburt einer Legende) is dedicated to the life and death of Napoleon (1769-1821) in exile on St. Helena.
One of the highlights is the bed in which Napoleon is said to have died. The sarcophagus also contains many of the relics of the former French emperor.
His stepdaughter and sister-in-law Queen (of Holland) Hortense de Beauharnais (1783-1837) already presented them to her visitors at the Arenenberg in specially equipped display cabinets. She also used them to introduce herself and her son Louis Napoléon (1808-1873) in their Thurgau exile as Napoleon’s rightful heirs.
A unique feature of the exhibition is the installation of the Napoleon grave in the castle park. In 1821/22, Hortense and Napoleon’s confidant Gaspard Gourgaud (1783-1852) planted a willow called “Saule de Sainte-Hélène” in the western park of the palace, in imitation of the original grave on St. Helena.
It is no ordinary willow but a “Babylonian willow”. There are many indications that there was also a stone tomb under the Arenenberg tree. For the special exhibition, an installation will visualise the tomb copy.
Another room is dedicated to the relationship between Napoleon and Lake Constance. Although he never visited this site, his decisions continue to impact the region to this day.
The exhibition is part of an international project by the Fondation Napoleon (https://fondationnapoleon.org).