The Martin Bodmer Foundation Museum is open and accessible to all!
The “Bibliotheca Bodmeriana” is considered one of the most beautiful private collections in the world and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015. It exhibits some of the greatest testimonies to human thought, from the dawn of writing, right up to the present day. The idea behind cultural mediation is to make the abundant material that comprises this unique collection, along with all of the other works exhibited in the museum, available to as broad an audience as possible.
In order to do so, we offer a wide variety of cultural activities to spark curiosity, encourage reflection, inspire creativity, enrich knowledge, and share enthusiasm for the great adventure that is the written word. We propose specific activities for each temporary exhibition- thematic tours and various workshops are designed to guide different audiences through the content of the exhibitions.
Tours of the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions are regularly available to the public. Equally, numerous events and activities are on offer, setting the tempo of the museum’s cultural life. These include:
- Writing and visual arts workshops
- Calligraphy workshops
- Classical Japanese literature classes
- Summer workshops (illuminating manuscripts, calligraphy, binding, etc.)
- Various other events and thematic weekends
- Audio guides and multimedia guides
The complete list is available in our Cultural Programme (in French).
Each year, the Martin Bodmer Foundation welcomes numerous classes of students, from primary school, all the way up to university. Students are pedagogically guided through the space to help them understand the different themes of the permanent collection; this enables them to draw links between their school lessons and the historical artefacts.
School activities are developed for each temporary exhibition and adapted to the age and level of education of the students. Visits are divided into a tour of the exhibition and an interactive session, often in the form of a creative workshop. The aim is to highlight the intellectual value of the exhibition and to meet pedagogical objectives.
“Discovering Writing” Workshops for 8-12 Year Olds
Thanks to the generous support of a private benefactor, Liviu Poliac, the Martin Bodmer Foundation and the association “Plan Vert” are offering creative workshops on the history of writing, available to around 20 primary school classes for pupils between eight and twelve years old. The Martin Bodmer Foundation would like to express its warmest thanks to Liviu Poliac for his support.
The Martin Bodmer Foundation welcomes young people of all ages and their families. We offer various activities aimed at a younger audience and families to teach youngsters the value of the collections, to pique their curiosity, and to ensure they enjoy their visit and want to come back. Learning is the key to appreciating an exhibition!
- Themed visits, specifically for a younger audience
- Workshops for the whole family
- History of writing discovery trails for children 7-12 years old.
Don’t forget to ask for a leaflet and torch for your visit at the reception! Both fun and educational, this five-stage trail aims to spark children’s curiosity, making visiting the museum fun for them. Armed with a torch and a leaflet, children can head off down the museum trail like an explorer, discovering the history of writing and books along the way.
NEW! Ancient Egypt themed discovery trail “Party in the Valley” (in French)
For children 8-12 years old. (The children are guided around by Teti, who encourages them to wander around the museum and find items with a link to his Egyptian ancestors. Over six missions, the children must solve the mysteries to prepare a banquet!
- Activities and games online. (2020 lockdown games available here (in French)).
Find out about our upcoming events in our Cultural Programme (in French).
Inclusive culture means barrier-free access to cultural events and activities and truly opening culture up to everyone- including those with disabilities.
The Martin Bodmer Foundation considers it extremely important to offer specific programmes for people with disabilities or with other access issues. We work with a specialist mediator to provide specially adapted visits and creative workshops, tailored to each individual’s specific needs.
The Foundation actively participates in Out of the Box, Biennale des Arts inclusifs (in French), which every two years brings together Genevan cultural venues around an inclusive arts programme. The next event will take place in June 2021, with the closing ceremony at the Martin Bodmer Foundation on 6th June. More information will be available soon.
Watch this joyful dialogue between the artist Fiami and people with disabilities (in French) about Jean de la Fontaine’s fable “The Oyster and the Litigants” at the Martin Bodmer Foundation.
You can find full accessibility details on this webpage by Culture-Accessible Genève (in French).
Each year, the Martin Bodmer Foundation takes part in many extremely interesting cultural events, including:
- The Salon du Livre en Ville (in French) book fair
- The Autumn of Japanese Culture. This brochure (in French) contains all the details.
Following the introduction of Covid-19 related measures, this programme has had to be almost entirely cancelled. Organisers are currently considering postponing the event until 2021.
- European Artistic Craft Days- JEMA
- Salon du livre de Genève book fair
- Nuit des musées night-time activities in museums
- International Museum Day
- Salon international de l’écriture writing fair.
We regularly organise specific activities linked to these events. For more information, see our Cultural Programme (in French).