The permanent exhibition traces the history of civilizations. It is arranged in chronological order spanning a period of 5,000 years, starting with the first discovery of writing. In sharp contrast, as you enter the exhibition, there is a collection of 170 million-year-old fossils that represent the moment when life emerged from the sea and left its imprint on earth, as if it were a written symbol of Creation.
The objects on display – papyri, manuscripts, incunabula, first editions and autograph manuscripts – give the visitor an insight into the creations of the mind that shaped mankind and so fascinated Martin Bodmer.
Not all the collection can be displayed in the permanent exhibition. Since the museum was opened in 2003, it has already been renewed twice – in 2008-2009 and in 2011-2012. The following pages give a short description of some of the exceptional objects that have been, are, or will be on display.
You can download the audio-guide, which is based on the 2012 exhibit.