One of my weekend pastimes in Geneva has been discovering museums in the city, and while there is much debate on whether or not Geneva has world-quality museums, I find there is plenty of room for discussion and plenty to see.

Here’s the deal, entry to permanent collections in all of the municipal museums (14 in total) is free of charge, all year round.

Entry to temporary exhibitions is free of charge on the first Sunday of the month in all 14 municipal museums, or about CHF5-CHF10 other days.

List of the free, public museums in Geneva

Centre d’Art en l’Ile, a former market now houses art and video installations – Photo ©Jared Bloch

The Art and History Museums

  • The art and history museum
  • Maison Tavel – history of life in old Geneva
  • The Rath Museum (arts)
  • The library of art and archeology museum
  • The graphic arts and engravings archives of the city of Geneva

The Arianna

  • The Ariana Museum – Swiss ceramic and glass (great place for a Sunday morning stroll, coffee and pastries!)

The MEG Ethnography Museum

  • MEG Conches (open from 15 June to 23 June 2013)
  • MEG Carl-Vogt (closed until 2014)

The Geneva Library Museums

  • The Voltaire Institute (library) and Museum (see my review) – not open on Sundays
  • The Geneva Iconography Centre (not open on weekends)
  • In addition the library offers free temporary exhibits all year at Espace Lullin

The Natural History Museum

  • The Science History Museum (great interactive exhibits for kids and adults)
  • Natural history museum (also great for kids and adults)

The Botanical Gardens and Conservatory

  • The botanical gardens and conservatory (great all year round, check my review of its great park features incl. a beautiful merry-go-round)

The Firefighters Museum

  • The Fire and Rescue Services Museum (limited hours, closed on weekends but great for kids)

Other free museums in Geneva

There are other museums, private and semi-private that offer free permanent exhibits.

The Cité du Temps

Hosts a museum and a gallery (closed on Sundays)

  • The Swatch Museum, offers the only Swatch permanent exhibit in the world, entrance to the one-floor exhibit is free all year round.
  • The Cité du Temps, a contemporary art gallery offers free temporary exhibits all year round.

Other low cost options

The Geneva art and history museum – Photo ©Laila Rodriguez If you are a true museum fan and would like to discover the remaining 46 or so private and semi-private museums in Geneva and over 400 in the rest of Switzerland, then you might consider purchasing a Swiss museum pass.

Find out more on GenevaLunch’s resource page: single card for Swiss museums.

Share your impressions of the museums you visit with other GenevaLiving readers by adding a comment below.

I’m off now, it is free museum day after all… Well, isn’t always?

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