Grande Place
Phone: +41 21 925 21 40
Fax: +41 21 921 64 58

Swiss Camera Museum

The Swiss Camera Museum was founded in 1971 by Claude-Henry Forney and opened to the general public in Grande Place 5 in 1979. These premises soon proved too cramped and in 1989 the Museum moved to an 18th century building in the Ruelle des Anciens-Fossés, restored by the architect, H. Fovanna and with the display space designed by the interior decorator S. Tcherdyne.

One of the reasons for choosing the building in the Ruelle des Anciens-Fossés was that an old underground passage linked it to a building opposite, whose main entrance was on the Grande Place, thus allowing the future extension of the exhibition space. The new premises, restored under the guidance of the architect Joël Brönnimann, was inaugurated in October 2001.

 Permanent Collection Highlights (6)

 Click on the images to enlarge

Permanent Collection

To discover the history of photography, one needs to understand certain principles of the scientific phenomena involved. The permanent exhibition therefore includes several hands-on installations, which will increase in number over the coming year.

On entering the Museum, visitors are invited to step into a camera obscura to discover the first of the phenomena which led to photography. Then, they can actually touch a real image and compare it with the reflection seen in a mirror. They can also use binocular vision to observe a picture in relief, or print out a picture of their hands or various small objects, thus discovering the effects of photo-sensitivity, i.e., the way light acts on various surfaces.

In the sector covering the precursors of the cinema, hands-on models of “Zootropes


Territoires infimes
from September 26th , 2007 to February 24th , 2008

Alain de Kalbermatten is both a photographer and a musician, and was even a doctor in the Winter...
His pictures open the doors to a world, his world, where the poetry of an empty place or an abandoned object just hints at human life, through the absence of such, the silence, yet as if everything were still inhabited. The tones are unexpected, a combination of special light effects which obviously fascinate the photographer and a singular photographic process called Cibachrome then Ilfochrome. In fact, this very nearly disappeared with the coming of the numerical camera, but has now been reinstated by Ilford in Fribourg.

Previous Exhibitions

Anecdotes of aerial photography in Switzerland
from February 11th to September 17th ,2007

Photography and the conquest of the sky are alike in that both are the culmination of a dream. Nadar was the first to achieve his dream in 1858 by producing the first aerial photograph taken from a balloon.
This year's exhibition is inspired by the Museum's collection of aerial cameras together with some amazing pictures lent by various Swiss institutions specialising in the preservation of photographic archives.
But flying is expensive and can even prove risky… So why not fix a camera underneath a pigeon? The Michel company, in Walde, Aargau, found this solution during the recession in the thirties, when they were endeavouring to widen their range of products. Don't miss these remarkable pictures relating the invention of this camera!
The exhibition is backed by Memoriav, Association for the Preservation of Audiovisual Archives in Switzerland.


Adults CHF 8 / € 5.20

Groups (min 10 people) CHF 6 / € 4

Senior citizens / students / apprentices CHF 6 / € 4

Groups (min 10 people) CHF 5 / € 3.30

Children under 16 free

Opening hours

Tuesday to Sunday 11am - 5:30pm

(except Easter Monday, Whitsun/Pentecost, and any other public holidays falling on a Monday)


Audioguide in Germand and English (free)

Guided tours CHF 75 / € 50

Museum texts in French

Ground-level access and lift.

Ample parking space for coaches on the Grande Place.

Museum internal and external photos (3)

Click on the images to enlarge