The three-year Interreg Alcotra “iAlp. Musei alpini interattivi” European project has provided some more in-depth details of its collections. An example is the case of English doctor and medic Albert Smith who, after having participated in his fortieth ascent of Mont Blanc (1851), described the experience by mounting the grandiose conference-performance “Mr. Albert Smith’s Ascent of Mont Blanc” in London’s Egyptian Hall. He also produced a large variety of souvenirs linked to the event, like board games, musical compositions and ornamental fans, but also booklets, programmes and even plates, following a marketing strategy that is incomparable even today.
Once “Mont Blanc Mania” died down, the passion for mountains remained, as well as for many important ventures beyond the Alps. But to scale impervious summits and follow long glaciers without leaving home, as Smith taught us, all that was necessary was a board game and some photographs. Everest, the North and South Poles and a rush for gold in the Klondike were other adventures that were also for sale.