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Barfüsserkirche: Outside view
Basel Historical Museum



All opening hours and prices

Barfüsserkirche: Coin Cabinet
Basel Historical Museum


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Barfüsserkirche: Archaeology Room
Basel Historical Museum



All opening hours and prices

Housed in the Barfüsserkirche since 1894, Basel Historical Museum presents selected aspects of the history of Basel from prehistoric times to the present.

Especially worthy of note are the works of pre-Reformation sacred art such as the Basel Dance of Death and Basel Cathedral Treasury. The section called «Understanding the World» installed in the basement comprises a magnificent array of medieval tapestries with their fantasy worlds and scenes of real life, the Renaissance and Baroque collections grouped together in one «Great Cabinet of Curiosities», and Basel’s rich archaeological heritage. Among the other highlights are the coin cabinet and Burgundian Booty.

History of the Barfüsserkirche

Opening times


Special opening hours:

Christmas Eve
December 24, 2019
Tuesday: closed

Christmas Day
December 25, 2019
Wednesday: closed

Boxing Day
December 26, 2019
Thursday: open

New Year's Eve
December 31, 2019
Tuesday: open

New Year's Day
January 1, 2020
Wednesday: closed

Museum Night Basel
January 17, 2020
Friday: special

Regular opening hours: 10 AM to 5 PM, Museum Night: 6 PM to 2 AM

Fasnacht Monday
March 2, 2020
Monday: closed

Fasnacht Tuesday
March 3, 2020
Tuesday: closed

Fasnacht Wednesday
March 4, 2020
Wednesday: closed

Maundy Thursday
April 9, 2020
Thursday: open

Good Friday
April 10, 2020
Friday: open

Easter Sunday
April 12, 2020
Sunday: open

Easter Monday
April 13, 2020
Monday: 10 AM to 5 PM

Labour Day
May 1, 2020
Friday: closed

Ascension Day
May 21, 2020
Thursday: open

Whit Sunday
May 31, 2020
Sunday: open

Whit Monday
June 1, 2020
Monday: 10 AM to 5 PM

Swiss National Day
August 1, 2020
Saturday: open


General admission fee

Adults: CHF 15.–
Reduced rate: CHF 8.– *
Combi-Ticket for all three sites: CHF 20.–/CHF 10.– *
Groups of 10 or more: CHF 12.–

* young people under 20 and up to 30 if still in education or training

Free admission

Happy Day: 1st Sunday of the month (except holidays) *
Happy Hour: Last hour of the day (except Sundays & holidays) *
Accompanying person of IV card holder
Children up to 13
Members of Association for Basel Historical Museum
Members of ICOM/VMS
Holders of Museums-PASS-Musées, Swiss Museum Pass or Colourkey

* except special exhibitions

Surcharge for events

Selected events are subject to a surcharge of CHF 5.– in addition to admission fee.

Location and directions

A wide choice of tours

Barfüsserkirche: Living History Felix Platter

Felix Platter was the physician of the city of Basel and a professor of medicine. He dissected corpses in the interests of advancing medical science. He also treated the sick and assiduously kept accounts of the many diseases that he encountered day in day out.

Book a tour


Your electronic museum guide

Further information

History of the Barfüsserkirche

The Franciscans, often called the Barfüsser or «barefooted ones», settled in Basel in 1231. In 1250 the Bishop of Basel gave them some land alongside the city wall on which to build, and by 1256 they had erected a monastery complete with a church. Just a few years later this was torn down and rebuilt (from 1275 to 1309). The second Barfüsserkirche was built further to the north, and at 80 metres long it was significantly larger than the first. It stood on a 2-metre-high mound of gravel, moreover, which is why the remains of the first church are located in the basement of today’s church.

When Basel embraced the Reformation in 1529, the monastery passed into the hands of the city. The cemetery became the Barfüsserplatz, while the monastery itself was used to house parts of the hospital, the poorhouse and schools, and the cloister was repurposed as a lunatic asylum. The church remained a Protestant house of worship until 1794, even after the choir was boarded up to allow it to be used as a granary. From 1795 it served as a warehouse and from 1799 until 1815 it was used to stockpile salt, which explains how some 300 tonnes of salt came to seep into the floor. Demolition of the monastery began in 1843, and from 1845 until 1865 the site was the location of Basel’s customs warehouse.

There were various plans for the church – either it was to be torn down in part or in full, or it was to be converted into a school or a swimming pool, a library or an archive, a market hall or a gym – none of which was realized. In the meantime, the building was used as a post office, dairy market, pawnshop, glove shop and, as before, as a warehouse. In the absence of a plan and someone to take responsibility for it, the church fell into disrepair. The city proposed it as a location for the new Swiss National Museum it was bidding for in 1888, but after losing out to Zurich was once again left with a church without a mission.

Basel eventually decided to use the church as premises for its new Historical Museum and from 1890 until 1894 had it converted for that purpose. By 1964 the salt corrosion had become so serious that radical renovation work was essential. Making a virtue of a necessity, the city furnished the church with a lower level and so provided additional exhibition space for the museum.


Basel Historical Museum
Management & administration
Steinenberg 4
PO box
CH – 4001 Basel

Reception: +41 61 205 86 00
Message: +41 61 205 86 02

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Tuesday to Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM
Wednesday to Sunday 11 AM to 5 PM
Wednesday to Sunday 11 AM to 5 PM