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Musée du quai Branly
Paris, France
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The creation of the musée du quai Branly has been an adventure ten years in the making – ten years of patiently and carefully breathing life into the President of the Republic's decision. It was first announced in 1995 to create a museum devoted to the arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. The project has sought to bring into being an entity worthy of the ambition that inspired it – to bear witness to the plurality of art by encouraging us to look afresh at extra-European arts and the cultures that produce them. The project was implemented in two phases - the first being the opening of the Pavillon des Sessions, at the Louvre, in April 2000. By exposing visitors from throughout the world to one hundred and twenty masterpieces selected for their aesthetic appeal and evocative power, the Pavillon des Sessions rooms constitute a manifesto in themselves, an initial response to the debt that Western cultural institutions owe to non-European societies. With over 3 million visitors in five years, the Pavillon des Sessions is fulfilling to perfection its role of promoting attention to and recognition of such arts, helping us to discover the power and beauty inherent in them. The rooms at the Louvre will remain open after inauguration of the musée du quai Branly, and will continue to bear witness to the power and diversity of art works produced by extra-European peoples. The project’s second major phase sprang from the decision to devote specific premises to the exhibition of works from French collections under the best possible conditions, and to the presentation of the cultures from which they came. Under the dual supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Communication and the Ministry of National Education, Research and Technology, the musée du quai Branly brings together, within the walls of Jean Nouvel’s beautifully-designed building, the collections housed at the National Museum for African and Oceanic Art (Musée national des arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie) and those from the ethnology laboratory of the Museum of Man (Musée de l’Homme). The Museum of Man’s collections were those of the former Museum of ethnography of the Trocadero created in 1878. This Museum was gathering some collections that were scattered before in prestigious Museums. In 1935, with the view to the Universal Exhibition of 1937, this Museum was demolished. The Museum of Man was then inaugurated in 1938. The Museum of the Colonies opened its doors at the time of the Colonial Exhibition in 1931. In 1947, it became the Museum of Overseas and then, in 1962, thanks to André Malraux, the National Museum of African and Oceanic Arts. As a museum of arts and civilisations, the Musée du quai Branly has a dual purpose – conservation and exhibition of collections, and contribution to research and education. Some 3500 works out of the 300,000 contained in the collections are on permanent public display, constituting the museum’s permanent exhibition ‘reference display area’. Organised both geographically and thematically, this take the visitor on a journey across the world’s other continents and highlight a number of major themes running through the collections. A larger number of items are put on public display during temporary exhibitions, to which half of the total exhibition area is devoted. There will be ten or so of these per year, each with its own commissioner – at least half of whom will be consultants brought in from outside the museum. Major emphasis is placed on lectures, teaching and research – an activity designed to meet two objectives: to develop production of scientific ideas and to help guide design of exhibitions and events aimed at the general public. Music, dance and cinema play an equally important role. The collections stir new emotions in the public, helping to raise its curiosity and to bring recognition of the genius of non-European civilisations. They remind us that our history is closely linked to those of the countries that produced these works. At the end of these ten years of preparation, the musée du quai Branly opened its doors to the public on June, 23, 2006. Once the natural curiosity aroused by the opening of a new cultural institution in Paris has abated, it will then be up to visitors to let us know if our choices have been wise ones and if what we offer lives up to their expectations. They will tell us if the museum is truly the centre of exchange and dialogue which we hoped to achieve. The Online databases The Library

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222 rue de l'Université 
HEMMET Christine, de MONBRISON Constance and GUETIN Christine 




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