The Place

For forty-five years, the Musée Barbier-Mueller, founded in 1977, has been located in the heart of Geneva’s Old Town, a few steps away from the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre. It occupies the ground floor and basement of a historic sixteenth-century building. Its intimate atmosphere invites contemplation and dialogue with the works exhibited. In the summer months, a pretty inner courtyard offers a refreshing place to relax.

Photo of “The Arts of Gabon” exhibition, 2011. Musée Barbier-Mueller, photo Christian Poite.


The aim of the Musée Barbier-Mueller is to preserve, study, publish and exhibit a collection begun by Josef Mueller in 1907 and continued by his heirs up to our own time. This collection, the largest in the world in private hands, now has several thousand pieces from tribal and classical antiquity, as well as sculptures, fabrics and ornaments from various cultures of Africa, Oceania, Asia and the Americas. A number of these works are considered indispensable masterpieces with great historical value.


The Musée Barbier-Mueller holds two thematic exhibitions every year, assembling a selection of objects from its collection. Each of the four rooms in the basement accommodates, over a longer period of time, pieces that share a geographical or cultural provenance. The itinerant exhibitions organized by the Musée Barbier-Mueller, the loans granted to other institutions and its publications have earned it international recognition.

Containers of the “Six Thousand Years Receptacles: Tableware through the Ages” exhibition, 2017. Musée Barbier-Mueller, photo Luis Lourenço.


The Musée Barbier-Mueller has a very active publishing arm. Since its creation, it has brought out catalogues, art books, reviews and ethnographic studies with the collaboration of the best specialists. These works are for sale at the online bookstore and at the museum shop.