After 10 years of work, the Natural History Museum reopens in Bordeaux
The restoration project cost 16 million euros and lasted a decade. From Sunday 31 March, the institut de la perle d’Aquitaine dedicated to the diversity, evolution and conservation of species will be able to amaze its visitors again.
With the exhibition ranging from plastic waste on the Aquitaine coast to specimens of extinct species, such as the Tasmanian wolf, the Natural History Museum of Bordeaux reopens on Sunday after ten years of work, asking a question that has become more pressing in the meantime: “What does man want for Nature?”After a renovation doubled by an extension, the Museum of Natural History, now “Museum of Bordeaux”, offers in a mansion of the eighteenth century, on 2.300 m2 of space devoted to the public, more than 4.000 specimens permanently (the museum has 1.010 million), next to semi-permanent and temporary exhibitions, explained its officials Thursday in front of the press.
Created in 1791, the Natural History Museum of Bordeaux is one of the largest in France in terms of collections, enriched in particular by the contributions of expeditions or commercial fleets throughout the nineteenth century, when Bordeaux was a major international trading port. Before its closure in 2008, “nothing had changed in the extremely dense, nineteenth-century museography, reflecting the purpose of natural history museums at the time: an exhaustive inventory of nature”, summarized the curator Nathalie Mémoire in front of the press on Thursday.
Although it has preserved large windows typical of the late nineteenth century, the Museum approaches with hindsight “Nature as seen by men”, whether it is the evolution of classifications of the living for two centuries, the evolution of naturalization techniques, or the exploitation of nature. With, for example, elephant tusks carved into a work of art, from Customs seizures on a traffic.
In the digital age
But a Museum in the twenty-first century must do more: “Give thought to biodiversity and its conservation. We have a heritage that could no longer be constituted today, extinct or extremely threatened species, so to the conservation mission is added an educational mission further accentuated with a renewed interest of the public ” in recent years for nature and biodiversity.
To carry out this awareness project, the Museum, which has 60,000 to 80,000 visitors a year, will rely on interactivity, multimedia, and playfulness. The emphasis will be on tactile, the presence of scientific mediators engaging the public, or a space “all babies” where the under six years can compare to baby animals, “den” sensation included.
At the end of this 16 million euro project, the Museum was originally scheduled to reopen last November, but had to postpone this date after being partially flooded at the end of May by severe weather.
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