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Collection presentation

Leaps in Time – A Brief History of Basel

The exhibition Leaps in Time will provide a brief history of Basel from the earliest signs of human activity there to the present. Visitors will be piloted through 100,000 years of history by some hundred exhibits, including key evidence of some of the great milestones of the past.

Around 200,000 people of 200 different nationalities live in Basel today. The city forms the centre of a large trinational region with a long history. «Leaps in Time» presents all those major events and historical milestones that have shaped the city and the region. Visitors will be piloted through time by a hundred or so exhibits ranging from the earliest traces of human activity to the present.

Among them will be important items attesting to key events in the city’s history, although visitors will also encounter objects of everyday use, including some that may surprise them. In addition, there will be six short films that open up historical perspectives on contemporary issues such as the influence of immigration and migration, the role of the pharmaceutical industry, and the relationship between town and country. There are also media stations that invite visitors to discover and solve riddles, as well as a large, interactive installation combining city maps, historical photographs, facts and figures on Basel’s urban and demographic development. The exhibition is trilingual (German, French, English) throughout and provides full access for the disabled.


Fleeing from Ukraine, arriving in Basel // Втеча з України, прибуття до Базеля

On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. The brutal and unexpected attack forced many people to leave their homes. Many refugees found shelter in Switzerland, and some of them in Basel.

In the light of these recent events, the exhibition «Leaps in Time – A Brief History of Basel» has been extended. Three personal objects of Ukrainian refugees along with the stories of their escape are now part of the exhibition. In videos, they talk about the first days of the war and their new life in and around Basel. The objects they brought or created are symbols of their life before the war, their escape, and the challenges of coping with their experiences. 


24 лютого 2022 року Росія вторглася в Україну. Жорстокий і абсолютно несподіваний напад змусив багатьох людей покинути свою Батьківщину. У співпраці з Європейським Союзом Швейцарія надає біженцям прихисток та підтримку. Троє свідків з України розповідають про перші дні війни та своє нове життя в Базельському регіоні. Предмети, які вони привезли з собою або створили, є символами їхнього життя до війни, їхньої втечі та переживання ними цих подій.

Extension of the exhibition

50 years of women's suffrage

Parade for women's suffrage at Schweizerische Ausstellung für Frauenarbeit 1928 in Bern. Photo: Otto Rohr, Gosteli-Stiftung, Fotosammlung B 78

50 years ago, on 7 February 1971, a majority of Swiss men finally voted in favour of women's suffrage. Switzerland was one of the last countries in Europe to grant women political participation. It was preceded by an arduous, almost 100-year struggle.

To mark the anniversary, a new short film on the topic of «Equal Rights» has been supplemented to the exhibition «Leaps in Time – A Brief History of Basel».

Basel Historical Museum


Leaps in Time

Basel 1933–1945

Some 200,000 people from 200 nations live in Basel in theearly 2020s. The city is the centre of a large tri-national region. Yet how did Basel become what it is today? This publication in German or English offers a concise overview of the events and developments that have shaped the city and the region.

The publication was printed with the support of the Berta Hess-Cohn Stiftung, Basel

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A report by Stadt.Geschichte.Basel

Making Of

Collection presentation in the Barfüsserkirche

Opening timesAdmission

Completely trilingual (German, French, English) and wheelchair accessible


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

Reception: +41 61 205 86 00

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