Under the auspices of the Swiss National Museum, three museums and our Collection Centre in Affoltern am Albis are brought together. The museums showcase the history of Switzerland from its beginnings up to the present day, giving an insight into the Swiss identity and the rich tapestry of our country’s history and culture, with temporary exhibitions covering issues of current interest.
The Swiss National Museum holds a unique collection on the cultural history and the craftsmanship and artworks of Switzerland from its beginnings up to the present day. The Collection comprises more than 870,000 objects and is divided into 14 collection groups. The collections form the sources for and starting point of our research activities and exhibitions.
The organisation, duties and responsibilities of the Swiss National Museum are regulated by the Federal law on the museums and collections of the Swiss Confederation (Bundesgesetz über die Museen und Sammlungen des Bundes, MSG) of 12 June 2009. Since its entry into force on 1 January 2010, the SNM, comprising the National Museum Zurich, the Château de Prangins, the Forum of Swiss History Schwyz and the Affoltern am Albis Collection Centre, has been a public-law institution with its own legal identity, which organises itself and maintains its own accounts.
Under the MSG, the SNM is subject to supervision by the Federal Council, which exercises its oversight function in particular by electing and discharging the Museum Council and approving the annual report. The Federal Council sets out the strategic objectives of the SNM, usually for four years; the achievement of these objectives is reviewed annually.
Pursuant to the Museums Act (Museumsgesetz), the organs of the SNM are the Museum Council, the Management Board and the auditors. The funding of the SNM is determined by Parliament every four years in the government’s cultural policy statement (Kulturbotschaft), most recently at the end of 2020 for the period 2021-2024.
Under the Federal law on the museums and collections of the Swiss Confederation, the Museum Council ensures the implementation of the strategic objectives set by the Federal Council and reports on their achievement.
left to right:
André Holenstein (Member, Professor at the University of Bern), Larissa Bieler* (Member, Director SWI swissinfo.ch, SRG SSR, Berne and Executive Board member SRG SSR, Berne), Sandrine Giroud* (Vice-President, lawyer), Stefano Stoll (Member, Director of Festival Images Vevey and exhibition curator), Tim Guldimann (President, political scientist, diplomat and politician), Marie-France Meylan Krause (Member, archeologist), Sonia Abun-Nasr (Member, Director of University Library Bern), Fulvio Pelli* (Member, lawyer and notary public)
*Members of the Finance Committee
Pursuant to the Museums Act, and subject to approval by the Federal Council, the Museum Council appoints the Director of the Swiss National Museum and, on request by the Director, the other members of the Management Board. The Director presides over the Management Board, is responsible for the operational management of the Swiss National Museum, recruits staff and represents the institution externally.
From left to right:
Markus Leuthard (Deputy Director, Head of the Collection Centre), Heidi Amrein (Chief Curator), Beat Högger (Head of Museum Operations), Denise Tonella (Director), Helen Bieri Thomson (Director, Château de Prangins), Mirjam Richter and Barbara Meglen (Assistants to the Director), Günhan Akarçay (Head of Digital Transformation and Innovation)
* Member of the Management Board
** Member of the extended Management Board
The image archive is the Swiss National Museum’s specialist photography documentation centre. The archive mainly contains images of objects from the collections, exhibitions, architecture and events. When placing an order, you will need to provide specific details of the image and its intended purpose. A fee is payable for this service and the acquisition of usage rights.
In its main focus areas of Cultural History, History and Art History, the Swiss National Museum’s publicly accessible library presents current exhibition catalogues and the latest volumes of a large number of journals. The Museum library offers attractive work spaces with views of the Limmat and Platzspitz Park; in the summer months the balcony is opened.
The public study centre includes the study collections, the library and reading room, the image archive and the Collection documentation. Objects and documents may only be consulted on site and by prior arrangement. For groups, a study room is available on request.