Consulting the collections

The Geneva Museum of Ethnography (MEG) would like to offer the opportunity to access its collections to a larger number of people, in particular to members of source communities, to students and researchers affiliated to museums and universities, as well as to artists involved in intercultural creative processes.

request for access [PDF 0.1 Mo] must be submitted at least four weeks before the desired date of a visit, and directly to the person in charge of the relevant collections.

This request should be supported by the following information:

  • A description of the purpose of your visit (explaining the reason for your request).
  • The approximate desired dates of the visit which will be discussed with the persons in charge.
  • A list of the objects requested for research and their MEG inventory number.

    The collection can be accessed online.
  • The affiliation of the visitors with a source community, a museum or a research institute if applicable.

All requests will be considered and you will be contacted in the shortest possible time.

How to access and research the collections

Access to all the objects requested at the time of the visit is not guaranteed. Some items may be required for research or restoration projects or may be on loan to another institution.

All visits will be led by the curator in charge of the relevant collection. Information exchanged about the history, significance and use of the objects, as well as concerns and remarks about their use, display and storage will be recorded in writing.

Visitors must bring their ID with them if the visit takes place in the museum's off-site storage.

The objects viewing takes place in dedicated rooms. Drinks, food, coats and bags are not permitted for preventive conservation and safety reasons.

If handling objects of the collection is justified by the reason of the visit, recommendations will be given by museum staff.

Photographic documentation is allowed for research or non-commercial use only, unless otherwise agreed. Photographs taken for publication or exhibition purposes are subjected to a special permission request.

Photographs of secret or sacred objects may not be permitted if there is opposition from the community of origin.

The museum library offers a specialised collection on social and cultural anthropology as well as multimedia materials related to the museum's collection. It is open to the public from Tuesday to Friday from 11am to 6pm, except on public holidays.


The museum database may contain information on and photographs of objects associated with ceremonial or ritual activities that are not in the public domain. Restrictions for use or viewing may apply if there is opposition from the community of origin.

The database contains names of deceased persons which may cause some distress, especially to the relatives of these persons.

Some objects may contain traces of biocides applied in the past to protect materials from insect infestation. Gloves are provided for consultation and it is recommended to wash hands before and after handling.

Can you help improve the MEG documentation?

If you know of any new information about an object or an image in the database that could help us understand them better, please contact the curator of the relevant collection.