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The city of Geneva in Switzerland is considered to be one of the most important cultural centers of Europe, if not the whole world. Geneva’s culture is made rich by the diversity of the people living within its boundaries, with more than half of its population coming from other parts of Switzerland and from other countries. This melting pot status of Geneva is enhanced by the fact that the city is home to the headquarters of many international organizations and institutions. Foremost of these international organizations is the United Nations.
Evidences of Geneva’s vast cultural heritage are seen in its museums. There are around 30 museums within the city, with each dedicated to an aspect of Swiss culture. Among these museums, ten hold prominence among Geneva’s visitors. If you are visiting Geneva, you should make time to visit these museums.
Red Cross Museum Geneva
The International Museum of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent is easily one of the most popular museums in Geneva. In this museum, you can learn all about the history of the first humanitarian institution in the world through dazzling multimedia presentations.
If you want to have a glimpse of life in Geneva during the Middle Ages up to the 1800s, the place to go is Maison Tavel. Maison Tavel is a house that was razed in the 1300s but was restored by the city. Among the highlights of Maison Tavel are the scale model of old Geneva and the medieval graffiti in its basement.
Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMCO)
Housed within an old factory building, MAMCO is one of the most dynamic and innovative museums in the whole of Geneva. It is known to update its exhibits and its interiors around three times a year. MAMCO is home to the best pieces of modern art in Switzerland, including those of Marcel Duchamp.
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum showcases specimens and models of various plants and animals from all over the world, with emphasis on those found in Switzerland. It has a life-sized model menagerie as well as a comprehensive collection of plant and mineral specimens native to Switzerland.
Art and History Museum
The collections of the Art and History Museum are divided into three wings. The Fine Arts Wing is home to the works by the masters such as Renoir and Van Gogh. The Archeology Wing has exhibits of artifacts from Rome, Greece and Egypt. The Applied Arts Wing has displays of furniture, tools, weaponry and other objects dating from the Middle Ages. It is the largest museum in Geneva.
The Olympic Museum
Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, the Olympic Museum is the home of a vast array of memorabilia from the Games. It also traces the history and development of the Games from its Greek beginnings up to modern times.
The Marionette Museum keeps alive the art of storytelling using marionettes as well as the art of making them. The museum contains more than 200 marionettes from all over the globe, and it features weekly presentations for children at the Theatre du Reve.
Officially known as the Swiss Museum of Ceramics and Glass, the Ariana Museum contains an extensive collection of kiln crafts products, including glass, stoneware, pottery and porcelain. The collection has around 20,000 specimens coming from all across Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
International Automobile Museum
The International Automobile Museum is home to the largest automobile show in the whole of Europe that is held every year. It has on display prototypes of various cars from Italy, Germany and France, ranging from classic cars to antique cars and race cars.
Patek Philippe Museum
Watches made in Switzerland have long been known to be the best in the world. Exhibits detailing the origins and development of watch craftsmanship in Switzerland can be found in the Patek Philippe Museum, with specimens dating from the 1600s.
Try not to miss any of these interesting museums whenever you visit the city of Geneva.