The University of Basel has rich scientific collections that form an important part of our cultural heritage and are of great importance for teaching and research. On the one hand, the collections form the basis for the five state museums in Basel (Museum of Natural History, Historical Museum, Museum of Art, Museum of Cultures and Museum of Antiquities) and contributed to the establishment of diverse scientific disciplines. The University of Basel maintains two university museums of its own (Anatomical Museum and Pharmacy Museum) as well as the University Library.
Anatomical Museum of Basel
The Anatomical Museum of Basel is part of the Medical Faculty of the University of Basel and serves with its worldwide unique collections of historical specimens to impart knowledge. The latest research findings are vividly presented in special exhibitions.
Pharmacy Museum Basel
The Pharmacy Museum Basel is part of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and thus belongs to the Faculty of Philosophy and Natural Sciences of the University of Basel. The museum owns one of the most important collections of pharmaceutical historical objects and shows the history of remedies and their production, application and development. It sees itself as an interface between the University of Basel and the public.
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum has rich biological and earth science collections with millions of objects built up over the past centuries. It offers special exhibitions, guided tours and events and is involved in national and international research projects. The objects in the collection are the basis of numerous publications by scientists from Basel and abroad.
Museum der Kulturen Basel
The Museum der Kulturen was created in 1893 from the ethnographic and the historical-antiquarian collection and received its present name «Museum der Kulturen Basel» in 1996. The basic holdings were based on the Old America collection of Lukas Vischer from Basel and are continuously supplemented by other collections. The museum is one of the most important ethnographic museums in Europe and has a rich collection with numerous cultural treasures from Europe, Africa, America, Oceania, Indonesia, South, Central and East Asia. It maintains collaborations with the departments of Ethnology and Urban Studies as well as the Center for African Studies at the University of Basel.
The Kunstmuseum Basel consists of the three buildings: Main Building, New Building for Special Exhibitions and Present with contemporary art from the holdings of the Kunstmuseum Basel and the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation as well as special exhibitions. It maintains close relations in research and teaching with the Department of Art History at the University of Basel and the eikones Center for the Theory and History of the Image.
Basel Historical Museum
The Basel Historical Museum is the most important cultural history museum on the Upper Rhine and preserves and researches objects and documents of cultural heritage in its three buildings. In the Barfüsserkirche, the former monastery of the Franciscan Order, topics on the history of Basel from early history to the present are displayed. Special highlights are the Basel Dance of Death and the Basel Minster Treasure. The Musikmuseum in the «Lohnhof», which dates back to the former St. Leonhard's monastery, has the largest collection of musical instruments in Switzerland. The Haus zum Kirschgarten features bourgeois living quarters of 18th- and 19th-century Basel, some of them still with the original interior furnishings of the city palace.
In Schaulager, contemporary art is stored and made visible and is accessible to the public through exhibitions and events. As a research institution, it is available to specialists, researchers and students. The institution's sponsoring foundation is the Laurenz Foundation, which has also endowed two professorships at the Art History Department of the University of Basel: the Laurenz Professorship for Contemporary Art and the Schaulager Professorship for Art Theory.
House of Electronic Arts Basel
The House of Electronic Arts (HeK) is dedicated to the preservation of digital heritage. Its unique collection focuses on «born-digital art» – art created and located in the digital medium. Artistic expressions include diverse technologies ranging from software-based art, computer code, and moving images to interactive installations or sound environments. The HeK specializes in topics in the field of software and net-based art, which has developed a specific artistic practice in Switzerland.
Libraries and Bibliographies
Basel University Library collects scientific literature to supply research and teaching, with a focus on the humanities and social sciences, natural sciences and medicine. As the cantonal library of Basel, Basiliensia are an important collection focus. The UB Basel Blog provides information about current events and discusses new topics and developments.
The University Library includes the UB Medical Library, the UB Rosental on the Rosental Campus for Environmental Sciences and University Dentistry, and the University Business and Economics Library – Swiss Economic Archives (SWA), the most important competence center for economic history and economic policy in Switzerland. In 2020, the UB Theology was also affiliated with the UB Main Library.
The Basel Region Library Network includes the libraries of the University of Basel departments, the libraries of the University Hospitals and the Basel Museums, as well as other libraries in the region.
Catalog Manuscripts – Archives – Bequests
The Manuscripts – Archives – Bequests network aims to include all manuscripts, archives and bequests and to list further descriptions and scholarly work on the individual documents. Currently, the manuscript collection of the University Library comprises about 10,000 manuscripts and collections of books from the Middle Ages and modern times.
The cooperation project E-Manuscripta of the University Library Basel with the ETH-Bibliothek and the Zentralbibliothek Zürich is the platform for digitized manuscripts and archival materials from Swiss libraries and archives.
The virtual manuscript library of Switzerland E-Codices makes medieval manuscripts and a selection of early modern manuscripts of Switzerland accessible. It offers free access to manuscripts from public, ecclesiastical and private collections.
The online platform E-Rara features an ever-growing collection of digitized 15th-20th century prints from Swiss libraries. E-Rara is a national joint project in which the University of Basel is also involved. Books, maps and illustrations are open access.