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Geneva's museums

Photo taken in Geneva's main museum, the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, aka MAH.

A peculiar place, and not one, to be honest, that I'm particularly crazy about.

One where art is at once close and very far removed from the visitor. Close, because this is evidently a no-frills place, with everything directly there, almost chucked at you. And far removed because, being devoid of much warmth, missing a shop where you actually feel like stopping and browsing, as well as any inviting cafeteria, you're made to feel like discomfort is a price deliberately extracted from you in exchange for the priviledge of being allowed to set your eyes on precious or beautiful things. These aren't really meant to be enjoyed; rather, you may derive enrichment from them in exchange for a measure of pain. A bit like going to a classical concert at nearby Victoria Hall, where the price to pay for great music isn't just the one printed on the ticket, but a very sore bottom owing to the absence of any real cushions on the narrow seats.

To be fair, I had a lovely lunch at the Museum's restaurant, but this is clearly a redeeming feature that didn't come very naturally and whose underlying notion, namely that it's OK to enjoy lofty stuff like art in a comfortable setting, has yet to rub off on the rest of the place and other cultural institutions here.

Mind you, there are some exceedingly nice museums in Geneva, both for their contents and their setting (though they tend to be private institutions), with the Patek Philippe museum being a particular favourite.


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