Stans: A meaningful museum in Geneva

While rooting around for Switzerland rainy day ideas, we discovered the Musée International de la Croix‑Rouge et du Croissant‑Rouge (International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum) in Geneva. We were at once excited and disappointed; excited because we have been proud Red Cross volunteers and wanted very much to visit, and disappointed because the museum was in Geneva, a three-hour drive away.

We didn’t want to leave our feline charges for the 9 or 10 hours we estimated we would need for the trip. But we did have one more house cleaner visit (yes, this is a tough house sitting gig), which would give the kitties some company partway through the day.
We decided that would be our one opportunity. Excitement prevailed. We could–and would–make the trip.

This is no ordinary museum. Its permanent exhibit is called The Humanitarian Adventure, and it tells the story of the Red Cross–past, present, and future–with a focus on three topics, each represented in a separate space:

  • Defending Human Dignity
  • Restoring Family Links
  • Reducing Natural Risks
Ken entering the Restoring Family Links room through a hallway of chains
Storage of registration cards from war times past

Throughout the exhibit, we are joined by lifesize witnesses to events who share their stories with us in what feels like an intimate conversation.

A photo project to help reconnect Rwandan children with their families

This isn’t a museum for children, in my view, but would be suitable for young teens through adults with an interest in humanitarian topics.

One room beautifully displays prisoner-created art and functional pieces
Images showing human indignities are displayed under a giant foot

A temporary exhibit about how AIDS prevention has been communicated through posters around the world was also very interesting, and well displayed.

We were very happy we had made the effort and, even though we are very familiar with the Red Cross and the content of the exhibits, it was very moving and real.



  • Museum entry: 15 CHF; 7 CHF for Red Cross members
  • Parking: There is no parking for the museum (except for bus and disabled spaces, which are in front of the building) and only restricted parking on the streets. On this rainy winter day, we were lucky to pick up a free-for-an-hour blue zone spot. I noticed that all of the cars in these spots had a blue card on their dashboards. Ken remembered that he had seen one in our car. You set your start time on the dial and place it on the dash. Though you’re probably not supposed to, we just re-dialed every hour. As we left, we noticed a pay parking garage about a block away.


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