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Basel Historical Museum

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Title: Basel Historical Museum  
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Subject: Basel, History of Basel, History museums in Switzerland, Karen Kilimnik, Münchenstein
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Basel Historical Museum

Opened in 1894, the Basel Historical Museum (German: Historisches Museum Basel) is one of the largest and most important museums of its kind in Switzerland, and a heritage site of national significance.[1]


  • Four sections 1
  • Barfüsserkirche 2
    • Location and history 2.1
    • Items in the exhibition 2.2
    • Management 2.3
  • Haus zum Kirschgarten 3
    • Location and history 3.1
    • Items in the exhibition 3.2
  • Musikmuseum 4
    • Location and history 4.1
    • Items in the exhibition 4.2
  • Coach and Carriage Museum 5
    • Location and history 5.1
    • Items in the exhibition 5.2
    • Management 5.3
  • See also 6
  • Footnotes 7
  • External links 8

Four sections

The museum is divided into four sections (buildings), three of which are within the city of Basel. These are Barfüsserkirche, Haus zum Kirschgarten and the Musikmuseum. The fourth section, the Coach and Carriage Museum lies slightly outside Basel, in the neighbouring town of Münchenstein.


Location and history

The main part of the museum is located in the Barfüsserkirche (literally ‘Barefeet Church’) in the centre of the city of Basel.

Items in the exhibition

The museum houses the Upper Rhine’s most comprehensive cultural history collection and the display area covers 6,200 square meters. The exhibition presents objects documenting handicraft traditions and everyday culture from ages past. Its focus is on the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance up to the Baroque period. Leading highlights include: the Basel Cathedral treasure, the Basel and Strasbourg tapestries, the fragments of Basel’s dance of death, altars and ecclesiastical graphic works, the estate of Erasmus of Rotterdam, the coin cabinet and glass painting. The museum also preserves old cabinets of curiosities which have been bequeathed, as Amerbach cabinet and Faesch cabinet, which works great collectors Basel sixteenth and seventeenth century.


The museum is managed by the canton of Basel-City. Its origins lie with the Amerbach family in the 16th century whose Wunderkammer was bought by Basel 1661 and brought to the public 1671. The cultural history objects of this Wunderkammer, together with the ones of other collections, became the Historisches Museum Basel in 1894.

Haus zum Kirschgarten

Location and history

The Haus zum Kirschgarten (House to the Cherry garden) was built between 1777 and 1780 for the Basel trim (sewing) and ribbon industry and for Colonel Johann Rudolf Burckhardt. The house is considered to be the most aristocratic palace in the area. The architect was Ulrich Büchel. After various changes in the ownership, the house was connected to the neighbouring building and a home-living museum was installed.

Items in the exhibition

Most of the 50 exhibition rooms are dedicated to showing typical common living space in Basel during the 18th and 19th century. Shown are varying furnitures, paintings, porcelain and toys and has been extended by a professional collection.


Location and history

The music museum is situated over the Barfüsserplatz, opposite the Barfüsserkirche.

Items in the exhibition

In 21 exhibition rooms over five centuries of euopean music history is displayed. The exhibition has three main points:

  • Instruments from the 16th to the 20th century
  • Concerts, choirs and dance
  • Parades, ceremony and signal-to-noise

Coach and Carriage Museum

Location and history

The Coach and Carriage Museum (Kutschenmuseum) was opened during 1981 as the fourth section of the Basel Historical Museum.

The privately owned Coach and Carriage Museum, section can be found in a barn on the elevated plain above Brüglingen in the Park im Grünen/"Merian Park" in Münchenstein, on the southeast border of Basel. The museum building and the grounds belong to the Christoph Merian Stiftung.

In 1837 the architect Melchior Berri developed a farm house with an outbuilding with stables, a short distance north of the manor house Villa Merian, in Vorder-Brüglingen, (the area in "front" of Brüglingen). The original barn caught fire and completely burnt out in 1905. The existing replacement building is from 1906.

Items in the exhibition

The museum exhibits:

The exhibition concentrates on coaches and sleighs from the 18th to the 20th century that belonged to Basel family estate. It documents transport, mobility and is an attest to the excellent workmanship of Basel's coachbuilders during this period. Shown are further attractions such as hunting carriages, dog carts, phaetons, coupés and landaus, as well as mail coaches, commercial horse-drawn vehicles, children's coaches and sleighs. Further exhibits are, for example, accessories such as harnesses and coachmen's liveries.


The Coach and Carriage Museum is managed by the Christoph Merian Stiftung (CMS).

See also


External links

  • Historisches Museum Basel (German)

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