The exhibition showcases more than 7,000 exhibits from the Museum’s own collection, highlighting Swiss artistry and craftsmanship over a period of about 1,000 years. The exhibition spaces themselves are important witnesses to contemporary history, and tie in with the objects displayed to create a historically dense atmosphere that allows visitors to immerse themselves deeply in the past.

Video tours

Four Generations of Ring Collecting

Alice and Louis Koch Collection

Alice and Louis Koch were patrons of the arts and jewelers. By 1909 they had collected 1,722 rings from Antiquity to 1900. Four generations later 600 rings of the 20th and 21st century were added. The Alice and Louis Koch collection can be seen in the west wing of the National Museum Zurich.  As part of New York Jewelry Week 2020, jewelry expert Beatriz Chadour-Sampson gave a talk about the collection.

Entire talk by Beatriz Chadour-Sampson

Blog posts

Andrej Abplanalp

31. March 2017

An unusual Sleeping Beauty

In 1924 a worker found in Raron the most significant exampel of Romanesque art in Switzerland.

DEP-846 / DIG-43142

Andrej Abplanalp

21. September 2017

Mystery of the St. Gallen Globe solved

A drawing found in a junk shop has turned out to be a document of great historical value. New discoveries have allowed the mystery of the St. Gallen Globe to be solved. A detective story from times past.


Fabian Müller

26. June 2018

A tour of the National Museum around 1900

After the National Museum opened over 120 years ago it quickly began drawing large numbers of visitors. A tour of the National Museum at the turn of the 20th must have been an impressive but, at the same time, taxing experience.

All blog posts


Opening of the collection in the West Wing

National Museum Zurich
published on 10.10.2019

The renovation of the West Wing of the National Museum Zurich is now complete. This wing of the building has been restored to its 1898 condition and equipped with state-of-the-art technology. The result is a chamber of treasures that brings together the best objects from every era.

The renovation of the historically unique West Wing was also a return to the origins of the National Museum. Designed by Gustav Gull and opened in 1898, the building was constructed at the height of the historicist period. During this particular epoch, architecture combined a range of different historical styles, while also creating new elements and adding them to the overall appearance. This diversity of styles made the renovation of the building extremely challenging.

In close cooperation with the cantonal department responsible for the preservation of historic monuments, it has been possible to restore large parts of the West Wing to their original 1898 condition. However, this required not only an in-depth consideration of the building’s architecture, which is based on different eras from one room to the next, but also a re-examination of the way in which the Museum’s exhibits are presented. Presentation played a critical role in the Museum’s construction, more than 120 years ago: at that time, space and object were considered as a single entity. Gustav Gull more or less built the exhibition spaces around the exhibits on show, creating a historically dense ambience which facilitated access to the past and brought history to life.

However, the result is not a mere homage to the past; rather, very much in line with the historicist style, it is a return to historical vigour. These strengths have been complemented with the latest technology. Architects Christ & Gantenbein reconstructed original floors and adapted them to modern-day requirements, uncovered lightwells, and opened windows that had been bricked up over the past few decades. They also revealed long-forgotten paintings, bringing them back to the light of day. The result is a beautifully crafted chamber of Switzerland’s treasures that will delight both museum lovers and architecture enthusiasts.


‘Catoptric Ring’. Otto Künzli (*1948). Design 1988, creation 1992. Gold and mirrored glass

‘Catoptric’ is the ancient Greek word for a mirror or reflector. The integrated mirror reflects the wearer’s eye when he looks at the ring. Otto Künzli is known for his conceptual jewellery, which often incorporates coded references to social or political issues. Permanent loan from the Alice and Louis Koch Foundation.

Photo: Swiss National Museum

Finger ring. Rose gold, coloured stones

In 1820 Johann Wolfgang Goethe presented this ring to 18-year-old Wilhelmine Herzlieb, with whom he had fallen in love. Sadly, his feelings were not reciprocated. The object of his affections married another man. Permanent loan from the Alice and Louis Koch Foundation

Photo: Swiss National Museum

Ensemble from Julian Zigerli (*1984). Shorts and jacket from the collection «My Daddy was a military pilot». 2013. Printed sil.

Zigerli’s name is synonymous with vibrant and technically sophisticated designs. His trademarks include print designs that he creates in collaboration with artists, graphic designers and photographers. Zigerli received the Swiss Design Award for the collection that included the ensemble seen here.

Swiss National Museum

Celestial globe, created by Jost Bürgi, 1594. Brass, gold-plated

Polymath Jost Bürgi (1552-1632) was royal clockmaker at the court of Landgrave William IV in Kassel. William was well known for bringing together renowned mathematicians and astronomers at his court. Extremely sophisticated both technically and artistically, the celestial globe is one of five surviving examples of Jost Bürgi’s work.

Swiss National Museum

Celestial globe, created by Jost Bürgi, 1594. Detail.

Polymath Jost Bürgi (1552-1632) was royal clockmaker at the court of Landgrave William IV in Kassel. William was well known for bringing together renowned mathematicians and astronomers at his court. Extremely sophisticated both technically and artistically, the celestial globe is one of five surviving examples of Jost Bürgi’s work.

Swiss National Museum

Altar screen featuring the Virgin and Child with St Anne. Augustin Henkel, 1521.

From the 13th century onwards, depictions of St Anne, the mother of Mary, start to appear. On the altar screen, the Christ Child is held gently by Mary and Anne. The scene is set in a room resembling a chapel, with ogival tracery windows. The architecture reflects the characteristic forms of the late Gothic. Permanent loan from the Gottfried Keller Foundation, Federal Office of Culture, Bern.

Photo: Swiss National Museum

Wall hanging with hortus conclusus (an enclosed garden). Basel, 1480. Wool and silk with gold and silver wire.

The weaving depicts Mary in a hortus conclusus, a garden with fountains, flowering plants and animals. The walled paradise symbolises the virginity of the Madonna, and is an important motif in the veneration of the Virgin Mary.

Swiss National Museum

Ceiling fresco in the lower chapel

In the late 19th century architect Gustav Gull used the Michaelskapelle (St Michael’s chapel) in Schwyz, dating from the early 16th century, as a model for his own work. The ceiling fresco has been freshened up as part of the restoration works.

Swiss National Museum

Palazzo Pestalozzi in Chiavenna (I)

Setting up the elegant stateroom from the Palazzo Pestalozzi in Chiavenna (I)

Photo: Roman Keller, Zurich

Palazzo Pestalozzi in Chiavenna (I)

Setting up the elegant stateroom from the Palazzo Pestalozzi in Chiavenna (I)

Photo: Roman Keller, Zurich

Installation of technical elements in the historic rooms

As in all historic rooms, technical elements such as power cables have been installed behind the panelling of the stateroom from Zurich’s ‘Haus zum Alten Seidenhof’.

Photo: Roman Keller, Zurich

Renovation work in the upper chapel

In the restoration works, the original paintings were uncovered, restored and touched up where necessary. The re-creation of the floor, which for the most part is still made up of the tiles from 1898, is based on a tiled floor dating from around 1600 from the Winkelriedhaus in Stans.

Photo: Roman Keller, Zurich

Original and reconstructed tiled floor

On the right, the original tiles from 1898; on the left, the tiles reconstructed as part of the restoration works. The model was a tiled floor from the old Casino Luzern (1575-1600)

Swiss National Museum

Lightwell in the 1980s with false ceiling.

To create more exhibition space, a ceiling was installed in the lightwell. This provided space distributed over two floors.

Swiss National Museum

The lightwell opened up and returned to its original condition.

As part of the renovation work, the lightwells were reopened and returned to their original 1898 condition.

Atelier Brückner / Daniel Stauch


The dispensary – the main room of a pharmacy – is a museum mise-en-scène from 1898. Most of the furnishings come from the former pharmacy of Muri Abbey (Aargau).

Swiss National Museum

Elegant stateroom from the Palazzo Pestalozzi, 1585

Thanks to the new display style incorporating a mirrored floor, visitors are able to view the magnificent coffered ceiling.

Swiss National Museum

Lower chapel

The exhibition space conveys the impression of a Gothic chapel with stellar vault, ceiling fresco and tracery windows. For this reason, sculptures and altars are displayed in this space. These features have been among the accoutrements of churches and chapels since the early Middle Ages.

Swiss National Museum

Original 1667 gallery with paintings, from the ‘Haus zum Langen Stadelhof’ in Zurich.

The Baroque hall was used by Heinrich Lochmann, a colonel serving in the French army, as a ballroom for social occasions. The portraits depict members of the French royal house and their political adversaries, as well as protagonists of the Thirty Years’ War. The tiled floor from 2018 is a reconstruction of the floor laid in 1898.

Swiss National Museum


Magnificent treasures from the Precious Metals collection attest to the centuries-old tradition and the high standard of craftsmanship and artistic skill of Swiss goldsmiths. The objects originally stood in churches, town halls, guild rooms and stately private residences.

Swiss National Museum

Ceremonial weapons collection

Ceremonial weapons, often masterpieces of craftsmanship, are used mainly for display. Among them are items including swords and rapiers produced by the Oeri goldsmithing family, and pistols made by gunsmith Felix Werder.

Swiss National Museum

Luxury sleigh crafted by Hans Wilhelm Tüfel (1631-1695), around 1680, Sursee, Canton of Lucerne.

The dolphins’ open mouths, the Sea god Triton and the fish on the runners were inspired by the Fontana del Tritone in Rome.

Swiss National Museum

Einsiedeln service, 1775-1776. Kilchberg-Schooren porcelain manufactory, Zurich. Painted porcelain

Originally comprising 300 pieces, the dinner service, commissioned by the Canton of Zurich, was produced at the Kilchberg-Schooren porcelain manufactory. It is the only Swiss state service dating from that era, and was a gift to Einsiedeln Abbey.

Swiss National Museum

Swiss National Museum press contact

+41 44 218 66 63 medien@nationalmuseum.ch


The Swiss National Museum would like to thank for the generous support.

Exhibtion imprint

Overall management
Andreas Spillmann

Project management
Luca Tori

Exhibition curators
Luca Tori, Heidi Amrein, Jacqueline Perifanakis

Curators of the collections
Jürg Burlet, Beatriz Chadour, Andrea Franzen, Erika Hebeisen, Christian Hörack, Joya Indermühle, Christine Keller Lüthi, Mylène Ruoss, Bernard A. Schüle, Christina Sonderegger, Ricabeth Steiger

Scientific collaboration
Heidi Brunner, Stefan Egli, Nora Rudolf

ATELIER BRÜCKNER GmbH: Uwe R. Brückner, Carmen Utz, Tanja Zöllner, Christin Erdmann

Project management Scenography

ATELIER BRÜCKNER GmbH: Jana Fröhlich, Evelyn Prochota, Sarah Mager

Lighting design
Atelier Derrer: Rolf Derrer

Marc Hägeli; Atelier Derrer: Rolf Derrer

Graphic key Visual
Roli Hofer

Media installations
René Vogel, Thomas Bucher; ATELIER BRÜCKNER GmbH: Tanja Zöllner; medienprojekt P2: Matthias De Ponte; 2av GmbH: Michael Barth, Johannes Friedrich, Martin Schmitt, Katrin Jedon, Surya Wöhrle, Jens Döring

Education and mediation
Stefanie Bittmann, Lisa Engi, Maria Iseli, Severin Marty

Public relations and marketing
Andrej Abplanalp, Alexander Rechsteiner, Carole Neuenschwander, Sebastiano Mereu, Anna-Britta Maag

Technical management
Walter Milan, Mike Zaugg, Gianina Flepp, Henrike Binder

Exhibition construction
Barth, Innenausbau KG, d. Ivo Barth GmbH: Thomas Ziegler, Ivo Barth; Sehner GmbH: Andreas Aupperle, Jürgen Sehner

Conservation and restoration management period rooms
Gaby Petrak

Conservation and restoration period rooms
Geißler & Lewandrowski Restaurierung; Restaurierungsatelier Kaufmann; Atelier Magener; Restaurierung Michel Räber GmbH; Schnetzler Wohngestaltung

Conservation management exhibits
Markus Leuthard, Elke Mürau, Tino Zagermann

Conservation and installation of objects
Nikki Calonder, Natalie Ellwanger, Etienne von Gunten, Andreas Hofmann, Isabel Keller, Elisabeth Kleine, Martin Ledergerber, Iona Leroy, Sarah Longrée, Uldis Mãkulis, Véronique Mathieu Lingenhel, Jürg Mathys, Leila Meister-El Ansari, Claudia Merfert, Françoise Michel, Elke Mürau, Caroline Muschel, Gaby Petrak, Ulrike Rothenhäusler, Nora Rudolf, Friederike Szlosze, Peter Wyer, Tino Zagermann

Object logistics and installation
David Blazquez, Simon D’Hollosy, Reto Hegetschweiler, Markus Scherer; Alder Stahl + Schweiss: Chrigel Alder, Christian Affentranger; Glasatelier Dold: Aline Dold; Fißler & Kollegen GmbH: Thomas Fißler, Bertram Haude, Franziska Hülsenberg, Daniel Klawitter

Advisory committee
Heidi Amrein, Ellen Bryner, Beat Högger, Markus Leuthard, Sabrina Médioni, Andreas Spillmann

Project controlling
Sabrina Médioni, Luigi Razzano, Ellen Bryner

Head of legal and contracts
Ursina Geissbühler, Jana Pfyl

Jonas Hänggi, Donat Stuppan

Photo archive
Andrea Kunz, Fabian Müller

Photographic rights
Barbara Davatz, Cristina Zilioli, Hélène Tobler, Francisco Paco Carrascosa

IT and Web
René Vogel, Stefan Hengstler, Daniel Niedermann, Pasquale Pollastro, Michael Ruckstuhl, Danilo Rüttimann

Veronica Barbacovi, Beatriz Chadour, Bill Gilonis, Laurence Neuffer, Nigel Stephenson, Marie-Christine Streuli

Editing and proofreading
Eva Carlevaro, Andrea Franzen, Joya Indermühle, Ingrid Kunz Graf, Laurence Neuffer, Jacqueline Perifanakis, Ilaria Piccolini, Catherine Schelbert, Daniela Schwab, Louise Stein, Nicole Wachter, Samuel van Willigen

We would like to thank the following companies for their support:
ATIDMA SCOP SARL; Isabelle de Bochegrave; Böhm Kabel AG; Eicher Werkstätten GmbH & Co. KG; Elektro Compagnoni AG; ERCO Lighting AG; GP Fiber Optics GmbH; IMModell; In Synergie GmbH; Kaba AG; Neonilluma AG; Poly-rapid AG; Richner AG; Samuel Rüegg Schreinerei GmbH; Securiton AG; Secusuisse AG; Touchewood Schreinerei