The central task of the HAM Foundation is to build up a systematic collection of the historical army material of the Swiss Army. This collection or areas that are already accessible are accessible to interested parties – by arrangement, free of charge and in groups of at least six persons. The HAM Foundation or its collection thus stands in contrast to a museum, which is basically based on didactic principles and with a message to a target audience. Therefore, the Foundation HAM also has no regular opening hours and requires for their service (on request, a guided tour of one or more Schaulager) also no entrance fee. The management of a museum is, in contrast to the existing collection, not the task of the Confederation.
The HAM Foundation collects the historic material of the Swiss on behalf of the Confederation, with the exception of materials from the areas of leadership support (HAMFU Foundation) and the Air Force (MHMLW Foundation) Army. By far the largest part of the objects to be taken over into the collection comes from the liquidation process of the Swiss Army. In addition, the Foundation also takes over objects in connection with donations or bequests.
With the online database “HAM-Inventory” provided by ZSHAM to all three foundations, the objects as well as the necessary documents for our work are recorded and inventoried. Each object is assigned its definitive location and so this can easily be found in a request (research, lending, etc.) and – after an exhibition – be returned to its place.
Before we can edit an object, we need to analyze the material or different types of materials. With this knowledge, the object to be preserved can be treated and preserved for future generations. Several HAM Conservator restorers work in different fields at the HAM Foundation. They document and receive the cultural property handed over to our responsibility and contribute with their work to the fact that these objects survive as long as possible – as undamaged as possible.
The objects inventoried by the HAM Foundation are documented in writing and photographed by our department heads. This includes, among other things, the analysis of the materials used, a detailed description of the function or use of the object, references to supplementary objects or the integration of the object into an entire system, the general mass of the object and, if possible, information about the object.
On the one hand, the material of the HAM Foundation can be viewed in the Schaulager and, on the other, it is possible to turn the material or groups of materials over to qualified museums or for temporary exhibitions. When borrowing objects or groups of objects, the issuing institutions must take various requirements into account.