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Historisches Museum Basel – Musikmuseum

Sound Pictures

Today: Closed

24 May 2019 - 02 February 2020

They sang Parisian chansons, played Polish lute music or collected musical instruments: for Basel’s Renaissance burghers, polymaths like Bonifacius and Basilius Amerbach, Felix Platter and Ludwig Iselin, music was essential to the cultural life of the city. This is the story told by some remarkable prints and manuscripts of the period that for many years Basel University Library has been hoarding like a treasure.

The public will be given their first glimpse of these «sound pictures» in next year’s show of that name. The manuscripts on show may not be masterpieces of illumination, but they are certainly impressive testimony to the musical life of the city in the age of Humanism.

The exhibition is a co-production with the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (FHNW), the Musikwissenschaftliche Seminar of the University of Basel, and Basel University Library.

Musikmuseum Aussenansicht

Historisches Museum Basel – Musikmuseum

Opening Hours

Mo Closed  |  Tu Closed  |  We 11.00 AM - 5.00 PM  |  Th 11.00 AM - 5.00 PM  |  Fr 11.00 AM - 5.00 PM  |  Sa 11.00 AM - 5.00 PM  |  Su 11.00 AM - 5.00 PM


The Basel Historical Museum with its three sites is widely regarded as the most important museum of cultural history on the Upper Rhine. It collects, conserves, records and researches objects and artefacts of relevance to our cultural heritage for future generations, tells visitors the story of Basel, and is a place for discourse and engagement with both present and future.

With over 3,300 objects to its name, the Basel Historical Museum is in possession of Switzerland’s largest collection of musical instruments. The ca. 650 European instruments, spread over three floors, span five centuries of music history from the oldest drum dating from 1571 and a highly ornate viola da gamba by Joachim Tielke (ca. 1704) to the Weber Unika Orchestrion of 1925. The 24 cells of the former prison serve as showcases in which visitors can admire instruments while calling up countless samples and additional information on an interactive screen. While touring the museum you will therefore hear all sorts of music, from the familiar to the bizarre.


CHF 10.- / CHF 5.-*

Combi-ticket: CHF 20.- / CHF 10.-* (for Barfüsserkirche, Musikmuseum, Haus zum Kirschgarten)
*For young people under 20 and up to 30 if still in education or training.

Group rate (from 10 people): CHF 8.-

Free admission for children aged up to 13

Happy Day: 1st Sunday of the month free admission
Happy Hour: Free admission for the last hour of the day (except Sundays and holidays)

Special exhibitions are subject to special rates and conditions.

colourkey Free admission

Museums-PASS-Musées Free admission

Swiss Museum Pass Free admission


tram 3 > Musik-Akademie
Musikmuseum Kesselpauke

Historisches Museum Basel – Musikmuseum

Switzerland's largest collection of musical instruments

Permanent exhibition

Musical instruments from five centuries are shown in both their musical and social contexts and grouped according to musical genres or to occasions on which specific instruments were played. Visitors can also hear how the instruments sound and are given additional information ...
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