The collection of building blocks provides examples of useful rocks and stones from Switzerland and all over the world. Building stones from Switzerland were quarried intensively around 80 to 100 years ago. They come from quarries that are no longer in operation. They are therefore important contemporary witnesses to building history and the trade of natural stones.

Natural stones are important materials for the construction and decoration of buildings, bridges, wells, roads and squares. Many cities feature natural building blocks – Basel, for example, has its pale red sandstone and light limestone, while Zürich has grey-green sandstone and Neuchâtel has its cream-coloured limestone. Most of these stones come from their respective surrounding areas.

The collection comprises some 770 samples. It is divided into a collection of Swiss building blocks of around 180 exhibits and a collection of building blocks from all over the world containing around 590 examples. The collection is grouped by petrographical perspectives. In addition to sediments, it also comprises igneous and metamorphic rocks. The cut and polished specimens in the collection also bear their trade names, which usually do not match their scientific names.