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Switzerland has some 1000 museums, one of the densest museum networks in the world, with one for about every 7,400 people. The number has more than tripled since 1950, with the greatest increase in regional museums, which accounted for 42% of the total in 1998.

The Federal Department for Culture is responsible for the museums in the National Museum Group. These include the three major history museums: the National Museum in Zurich, the Forum of Swiss History in Schwyz, and the Château de Prangins, near Nyon in Canton Vaud. The group also contains some smaller specialised museums, like the Customs Museum in Cantine di Gandria, in Canton Ticino, and the Musical Automata Museum in Seewen, Canton Solothurn.

However, many of the small museums of local history, established by enthusiasts, face financial difficulties and are worried that knowledge massed by their founders will be lost as they are unable to document their collections sufficiently.

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