About us

Seeing the World with Different Eyes

The Museum der Kulturen Basel (MKB) is one the leading anthropological museums in Europe. It collects and exhibits works and objects from around the world for the purpose of raising awareness and understanding for all cultures. Preserving the collections is just as much part of the MKB's tasks as doing research on them.  Findings are imparted by means of exhibitions, events, and publications.

The Museum der Kulturen Basel (MKB) is the largest anthropological museum in Switzerland and one of the most eminent of its kind in Europe. The MKB collections are renowned throughout the world and include over 340,000 objects, around 300,000 photos, 400 films and sound recordings.

MKB exhibitions cover contemporary and everyday subjects. They convey cultural commonalities as well as differences and thereby contribute to the understanding of one’s own as well as other cultures.

Mission statement
With its exhibitions and events, MKB seeks to enrichen cultural life and awareness for all forms of culture. Its mission statement reads as follows:

  • Our task is to shed light on the cultural dimensions of life that define each and every society in multiple and different ways.
  • We foster the acquisition of knowledge in combination with aesthetic enjoyment and emotional experience.
  • In our work, we review and reposition parts of our collections on an ongoing basis.
  • We treat all subject matters with a view to the here and now.

In its capacity as a place of viewing, learning, and experience, MKB invites visitors to reflect on and reinterpret the familiar, according to the motto “seeing the world with different eyes”.

MKB is one of five public museums in Canton Basel-Stadt. It operates according to the principles of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), on the basis of the cantonal museum law, and the regulations decreed thereby. 

Research is an indispensable field for an institution such as a museum. In the context of our MKB Fellowship programme, in-house and external scholars work extensively on our collections, their history – with special emphasis on provenance research – and their essence.

MKB publishes the findings of its research projects, thus making them accessible to a wider audience. Of course, they also feed into our exhibitions and public events at the museum such as the gallery talk series “Grasping anthropology”