Federal Archives of Historic Monuments

Since 1880, the Federal Archives of Historic Monuments (FAHM) have collected, conserved and provided access to unique documents on architectural history, historic monuments preservation, archaeology, protection of built heritage and landscapes, and folk culture. The approximately 1.2 million documents contain information on measures to restore protected sites, archaeological digs and the developing character of towns and villages, and answer questions about the changing face of the landscape, culture and society.

Content and scope

Aquarell von Wilhelm Lasius
The 1897 watercolour by Wilhelm Lasius depicts details of individual building components.

The archival records include:

  • all kinds of photographic materials from the beginnings of photography to the present day (negatives on glass/plastic, photographic prints, slides – some coloured – stereo photographs, etc.)
  • written records (files, appraisals / expert reports, correspondence, inventory books and much more)
  • architects’ plans, sketches, blueprints, paintings

Collection principles

  • Documenting measures subsidised by the Confederation in the areas of historic monuments preservation, protection of built heritage and archaeology
  • Maintaining inventories, private and association archives and photographic archives documenting Swiss historic monuments preservation and architectural history from 1880 to the present day
  • The key criterion for acquiring a fonds – apart from quality and uniqueness within the FAHM’s collections – is its relevance to Switzerland as a whole.

Research and access

  • A large proportion of the documentation has been catalogued and can be researched in the HelveticArchives database.
  • Originals can be viewed in the Prints and Drawings Department by prior appointment.
  • Some of the – mainly old – files have not been catalogued and are difficult to access.


Last modification 31.05.2022

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Swiss National Library
Prints and Drawings Department
Hallwylstrasse 15
3003 Bern
Phone +41 58 462 89 71

Print contact

Opening hours

by appointment only