Zoological Museum, Zurich

#5 of 41 in Museums in Zurich
Specialty Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
The Ethnographic Museum of the University of Zurich is the third oldest ethnological museum of Switzerland. Owner of its collections since 1914 is the University of Zurich. The main fields of the museum’s activities are the maintenance of the collections, research, teaching and public relations (realization of exhibitions, publications and public events).
The ethnographic museum is located in downtown Zurich within the premises of the Old Botanical Garden “zur Katz”. The building was first constructed in 1864 and underwent various changes over time. Until 1977 it served as a depot, office building and green house of the Botanical Institute of the University of Zurich, the latter still recognizable in the library tract’s architecture.
The buildings conversion into a museum was undertaken by the architects Hubacher, Issler and Partners, Zurich; another major renovation was carried out by the architects P. + J. Diethelm, St. Gall, in 2014. The complex of buildings now comprises of depots, studios of photography, graphic art and conservation, archives, library, office tract, lecture hall and auditorium (which also serves as venue of public events), reception and three exhibition halls (total display space 700m2).
In 1889 the Ethnographic Collection of Zurich was presented to the public for the very first time. Initially the collection was property of the Ethnographische Gesellschaft Zürich (since 1899: Geographisch-Ethnographische Gesellschaft Zürich, GEGZ ); in 1914 the collection was handed over to the University of Zurich where it was open to the public in the university’s main building till 1979. In 1972, with the introduction of ethnology as a new subject of study at the University of Zurich, the former “Ethnological Collection” was shifted from the Faculty of Natural Sciences to the Faculty of Arts and renamed as “Ethnographic Museum of the University of Zurich”. In 1980 the collection was moved to its present location.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
205 reviews
  • A wonderful place to keep amazed about nature as it used to be some million years ago till our times in the area of Zurich. Hands on experience. You are immediately joining the show, and learn a lot.....  more »
  • Great place to visit. We went with our 6-year-old grandson who loved looking at all the insects through a microscope and listening to all the commentaries. What I particularly liked was being able to....  more »
  • There are a huge range of animals to look at and an informed staff. A nice way to spend an afternoon preflight. Only downside is signage is in German, but it is not really needed to enjoy the exhibit  more »
  • Great place to hop in and out and see some actual animals. Good collection with conserved animals from across the globe.
  • We came here as they usually have a wooly mammoth on display but sadly it wasn't out that day. Great place for kids. The best part? It's free! I loved seeing the unicorn!
  • Very good for children and schools but parents can get involved too. Interesting presentation of zoological exhibit with attractive and educating schemes. To be seen.
  • Nice museum to learn more about animals. Mostly in German but still worth a visit for non German speakers. Best of all, it's free :)
  • A must go! A lot of exhibits and taxidermy animals. Fantastic place to bring your kids to learn more about nature. You can spend a good 2-3 hrs there. And it’s free!!!

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