One of MBFF’s 🖼 favourite museums in Geneva is the MEG (Musée d’Ethnographie de Genève) . . . we watched as it was being built and we were excited when it opened its shiny new doors to the public!
The adventure starts before you even enter the museum – the architecture is modern and audacious (designed by Graber Pulver Architekten AG) and there is a 🌷 pretty landscaped garden (Hager Partner AG) just in front of the museum, that changes with the seasons. And, when your little ones need some fresh air, there is a 🌈 fantastic playground just next door – perfect!
[ good to know: the MEG won the prestigious award European Museum of the Year 2017! ]
The 🖼 temporary exhibitions at the MEG change yearly. We had a terrific visit to the « Rois Mochica » exhibition a few years ago, and we even managed to be there when there was a FREE Mochica temple building workshop for the children. And we listened to some wonderful storytelling too. Late in 2016, we visited the « Amazonia » exhibition and we were immersed in the sights and sounds of the Amazon rainforest; the boys had sticker books to accompany their visit (offered by the museum) and they took part in a wonderful FREE feather workshop. In 2017, we visited the fabulous « L’effect boomerang: les arts aborigènes d’Australie », and took part in the fascinationg workshop of making a barracuda ghostnet. 2018 saw the exhibition « Afrique: les religions de l’extase ». And this year, in autumn 2019, we visited the atmospheric « La Fabrique des Contes », where we were immersed in some unknown (to us) fairytales, and listened to some improvised storytelling!
🖼 upcoming temporary exhibition: « Jean Dubuffet, un barbare en Europe » / this exhibition will recount the life and works of Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985), painter, sculptor and writer, and will specifically concentrate on the artist’s visit to Switzerland (and to the MEG!), after the WW2 – a trip that would define the « l’Art Brut » / this exhibition brings together around 300 works of art and is organised with the collaboration of la Fondation Dubuffet and Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne, and co-produced with le Mucem (Marseille) and l’IVAM (Institut d’art moderne de Valence, Espagne) / MEG website information;
Permanent exhibition space
As well as the temporary exhibitions, there is also a 🖼 permanent exhibition displaying artefacts from all of the continents: Exposition de référence: Les archives de la diversité humaine. Here, there are some interactive activities, like listening to music from around the world (this part of the museum is FREE to visit, irrespective of when you visit).
For children and families
The MEG museum is well adapted for a visit en famille. There are plenty of 🎨 creative workshops and storytelling (especially on the first Sunday of each month!), for example:
- 📚 the monthly Tohu Wa Bohu storytelling;
- 🎵 the monthly Baby Bazar (éveil musical for 0 to 2 year olds);
- Grand Bazar du MEG – guided visits and workshops on the first Sunday of the month;
There are also guided tours and helpful booklets (FREE!) offered to make a visit to the exhibitions more interactive for the children (do ask at reception!). To see the programme for children and families, see here.
And, as stated above, when you need some fresh air there is the wonderful 🌈 playground outside! NB – this playground is used by the adjacent school, so it is ONLY open to the public at the weekend (we were told off for making too much noise on a Toussaint visit, when it was a journée congé in France, but not in Switzerland! 😉).
Restaurant & Bookshop
The MEG has an excellent ☕️ café and restaurant and it is a popular spot in Geneva to meet, eat and drink (an especially popular meeting place for Geneva parents with babies!). There is also a 🍏 covered picnic area by the playground.
There is a lovely 📚 bookshop in the entrance hall.
Eating Options nearby
If visiting on a Sunday, many of the nearby restaurants will be shut (though not all). Open on a Sunday: Loops & Coffee for amazing US-style donuts (on same road as MEG), Umamido (Japanese ramen, same road as MEG) Birdie Food & Coffee (brunch, rue des Bains 40), Chen, Panda Express (Chinese food, same road as MEG), Restaurant Punjabi (Indian food, same road as MEG), Holy Cow (hamburgers, rue de Carouge 14), La Pignata (pizza, avenue du Mail 3), and streetfood from Plainpalais market on a Sunday;
Things to do nearby
This fabulous museum is located a short distance away from the Plainpalais central square, which is HUGE and has a great playground and 🛹 skatepark (so pack scooters, push bikes and skateboards! And helmets, obviously!):
Also a short walk away are the fabulous MAMCO and Contemporary Art Museum of Geneva (see here for more information).
🗓 opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday – 11h to 18h / CLOSED on Mondays, 25th December and 1st January;
🎟 price: adults: 9 CHF / under 18s: FREE / FREE: first Sunday of the month (including temporary exhibitions);
🅿️ parking: nearby is the Parking de Plainpalais, an underground (paying) car park, or there is free parking on adjacent streets at the weekend;