Museum of Art and History, Geneva
museum in Geneva (Switzerland)



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Museum of Art and History, Geneva
museum in Geneva (Switzerland)
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Rue Charles-Galland 2

gstecyk's picture


This museum is as Swiss as fondue, Toblerone, Ricola and army watches.  

It is Switzerland’s largest museum, which is to say in this country of tiny villages and family farms, respectable but not enormous.  Some negative nancy online reviewers comment on the comparatively modest size next to overwhelming giants like the Louvre, but your feet will thank you.  In true Swiss fashion, this museum can be traversed in an efficient, manageable, and thoroughly satisfying two or three hours.

Make no mistake, the museum boasts over one million pieces of a striking breadth and depth.  Known particularly for its medieval art, the collection is also distinguished by premier expressionist works, contemporary and ancient art, and functional art such as weapons, furniture, and even a 3,000 year old Egyptian Mummy!  There’s also a unique collection of Byzantine art.  The Byzantine era is a super cool and too often gets lost in between Ancient Roman and Medieval, so enjoy this rare opportunity.

The museum institution dates back to 1826, and the museum as we know it today was built between 1903 and 1910 to merge the collections of several smaller museums together.  A controversial expansion project is in the works, including a modernist cube in the heart of the historic building.  Cultural preservation groups are horrified by the prospect, but it could provide up to 90% more floor space, increased access to people with disabilities, leisure areas and a restaurant with an awesome 360 degree view of Geneva.

The current museum cafe serves high quality French-Swiss pastries and other delights.  There’s also a playground in the central courtyard; the perfect antidote to fussy, museum-weary children.  If all that isn’t enough, admission to permanent exhibits is free, and who doesn’t love free stuff?...besides Bernie Sanders haters, of course. 

 If you’re in the mood for a fun scavenger hunt, see if you can spot all the statues outside the building, which are allegories for the arts.  Can you identify them all?  

Here’s a checklist:

  • Painting

  • Sculpture

  • Drawing

  • Architecture

  • Archaeology

  • Applied art




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Here is what Wikipedia says about Musée d'Art et d'Histoire (Geneva)

The Musée d’Art et d’Histoire (Museum of Art and History) is the largest art museum in Geneva, Switzerland.

The building

The museum is located in Les Tranchées, in the city centre, on the site of the former fortification ring. It was built by the architect Marc Camoletti between 1903 and 1910, and financed by a bequest from the banker Charles Galland (1816–1901). The building is square, with 60 m (200 ft) sides surrounding an inner courtyard. It has four storeys, with roof lanterns on the top floor, and a total exhibition space of 7,000 m² (75,000 square feet).

The façade is decorated with sculptures by Paul Amlehn: an allegory of the arts, depicting painting, sculpture, drawing and architecture, is mounted on the triangular gable above the entrance, and two more allegories, of archaeology and applied art, can be seen in the left- and right-hand corners of the building respectively. The upper frieze includes the names of Genevan artists: Dassier, Baud-Bovy, Saint-Ours, Agasse, Töpffer, Liotard, Calame, Diday, Menn, Petitot, Arlaud and Pradier.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Musée d'Art et d'Histoire (Geneva).