Audiovisual collection (photograph, film, sound)

The audiovisual collection comprises roughly 300,000 photographs, 400 films, and numerous sound recordings.

Photographs have been admitted to the collections since the museum was founded in 1893. In addition to numerous photo albums, postcards, and picture postcards, the photographic media also include daguerreotypes, glass negatives, slides, and digital photos.

Going back to 1935, the large majority of positive prints were pasted on to file cards and ordered according to geographical provenance. The file cards include additional information such as inventory number, information on the person who took the picture, the year it was shot, the image carrier, or other institutions. Since 2019, the roughly 143,500 file cards are being digitized and indexed.

Many photos from field research
In addition, MKB holds many field research photos taken by members of the museum staff or external researchers, including the collections of Fritz and Paul Sarasin, Felix Speiser, Alfred Bühler, Meinhard and Gisela Schuster-Fleischhauer, and Florence Weiss.

The holdings also include numerous gifts received from private individuals living abroad; others took or collected photographs during longer trips or stays abroad. These include, for example, the photo collection of Carl and Georges Passavant. In some cases, photographs were acquired in the form of documentations or supplements to object collections, or as bequests.

The audiovisual collection is still largely unedited.