Walking around the park, you’ll come across sculptures dotted around the grounds, including a bust of The Musée Ariana has a collection of over 25,000 ceramic, glass and stained glass pieces, illustrating twelve centuries of creation in these fields, ranging from medieval to contemporary items and coming from Switzerland, Europe, the Near East and the Far East. Occupying a unique place in Switzerland, this institution is one of the great European museums specializing in what are known in French as the “arts of fire”.
The Musée Ariana, which opened in 1884, was originally built to contain the encyclopaedic collections of its founder Gustave Revilliod (1817-1890), who left the objects, the building and the vast park surrounding it to the City of Geneva. On Revilliod’s death, his faithful steward Godefroy Sidler was appointed curator of the Ariana and wrote the first catalogue of the collections.
In the early 20th century, the Ariana gradually fell into oblivion, as it was too far out from the city centre and suffered from competition from the new Museum of Art and History that opened in 1910. The Ariana kept its independence from the "big museum" until the 1930s, when Waldemar Deonna, Director of the Museum of Art and History, decided to regroup the collections in order to increase the attractiveness of both institutions and eliminate the coexistence of two encyclopaedic museums in Geneva. At his suggestion, the Genevan Administrative Council decided that the Ariana should become a ceramics museum.
Revilliod’s other collections (weapons, furniture, painting, etc.) were therefore moved to the Museum of Art and History, and all the ceramic pieces in the latter’s collections (except those from Antiquity), together with those of the Fol Museum and the Museum of Decorative Arts, came to the Ariana.
In the same spirit, the Musée Ariana received from the Museum of Art and History in 1986 its collections of glass from post-Antiquity, and then, in 2000, those of stained glass.