• Mika Vepsalainen

A brilliant look into arts and history in the heart of Geneva

Join us to review one of the most interesting museums in Western Switzerland. The Musée d'Art et d'Histoire de Genève combines the history of the Geneva region together with the development of visual arts in a fascinating combination in a neoclassical building by Marc Camoletti.



The Geneva Museum of Art and History goes back to 1910 when the museum was opened as a result of a process that started as early as in 1774 when the Société des Arts was established to promote crafts, industry, commerce and agriculture in the Republic of Geneva. A year after the National Exhibition of 1897 in Geneva, a project for a “Grand Musée” brought together all of Geneva’s public art and history in one place, including the archeological and several art collections.


With some 650,000 objects, the museum covers a surprising range from applied and fine arts to archaeology on five floors. The museum structure takes you through the historical phases of Geneva during the past 15000 years. You will see some Greek and Roman statues many of which have been found in the larger Geneva region as opposed to those stolen from the original sites which is often the case in some of the world's more famous museums.


The development of Geneva from a village to a merchants’ hub and further to one of the most significant cultural and religious hubs - the home of calvinism - in Western Europe is fascinating and well evidenced both in the museum objects and the arts on show. The museum items include an impressive collection of one of the most known Swiss painters, Ferdinand Hodler and other local famous names such as Liotard and Vallotton together with world class names including Pissarro, Cézanne, Renoir and Modigliani.

The museum's café Barocco is definitely worth a visit even if it has Swiss prices. You can taste local delicacies and home baked pastries also outside enjoying the Roman statues in the inner yard of the museum.


There are several loos, also accessible in a wheel chair or with a pram. The handicap entry is at Boulevard Jaques-Dalcroze 9. Make a call from the interphone and someone will open the door for you. There is an extra plus, a handicapped parking slot in front of this entrance. There are several lifts that take you easily to the different parts of the museum.


The museum shop looks really impressive and you might wish to sit there for a while after your lunch in Barocco. They have a fantastic selection of books for your coffee table, some with affordable prices. No gift items or similar, really, even for the nasty son of your cousin.


You can find lockers just after the museum shop to lock up your bag and coat. They work with 1 franc coin that you get back when you open the locker.


MAH has an interesting pricing policy. When you come, the ticket office will tell you that you are invited to pay what you want. They recommend something between CHF 5 and CHF 20 but suggest your paying when you leave so that you can make an informed decision! Many of us think that this museum is definitely worth the CHF 20!


When you are there, do not forget to check the fanciest car park in the world next to the museum. After your museum trip and a glass of Swiss wine, take a a step from the main entrance towards the Old Town, take the lift that goes down to the entrance of the parking hall Saint-Antoine and you will see Geneva’s medieval city walls!


Musée d'art et d’histoire

Charles-Galland 2

http://institutions.ville-geneve.ch/fr/mah/