The vocation of the Swiss Camera Museum is to preserve the memory of the works and techniques of photography in all of its fields of application, through the conservation of objects, instruments, as well as photographic products, processes and components, and any photographs, documents publications and illustrations associated with this medium.
The main task of the Swiss Camera Museum is to provide a coherent, technological, cultural asset that displays the history of photography from its origins to the present day, and even points to future developments.
It protects this heritage and transfers knowledge and awareness of it to the public through exhibitions, events, research, publication and all other activities contributing to the diffusion of this knowledge and to the impact made by the institution. Particular attention is paid to Swiss works or those having a connection with the history of Swiss photography.
In order to fulfil this mission, the Museum conserves, studies, maintains and develops its collections in three domains:
Collections of equipment and instruments
- Optical instruments for design/drawing and optical recreation, such as camerae obscurae, optical boxes and magic lanterns
- Exposure and processing equipment, from the origins of photography to its most recent developments
- Laboratory and finishing equipment and materials
- Studio lighting, furnishings and materials
- Films, papers, products and other photographic components
- Articles related to the commercialisation of photographic material
Documentation and library centre
- Old works, manuals, journals, publications on the history of the medium, its industrial history and photographic processes and techniques
- Catalogues, prospectuses, instruction manuals, company publications, price lists, press releases, archives from manufacturers, distributors, workshops, laboratories, specialised journalists, etc…
- Optical views and painted or printed magic lantern plates
- Examples of negative and positive photographic exposure processes on metal, glass or paper, such as daguerreotypes, ferrotypes, stereograms, etc…
- Examples of photographic printing processes, as documents or exceptional works of art
- Projection plates and slides
- Engravings, photographs and other illustrations representing the work of practising photographers, or documenting the history of photographic techniques