[!] Support the Musee de l'Homme (Paris) !

Comite de Defense du Musee de l'Homme (phm@mnhn.fr)
19 Nov 1996 13:06:54 GMT


* Against its destruction and replacement by a museum of 'First Arts'
* For its renovation and maintenance within the Museum National d'Histoire

What is the Musee de L'Homme?

Like the Vincennes Zoo, the Jardin des Plantes, the Arboretum Chevreloup, the
station at Brunoy, etc., the Musee de l'Homme (Museum of Mankind) forms part
of the Museum national d'Histoire naturelle, created by government decree and
placed under the aegis of the Ministry for Education. By virtue of its three
departments (Anthropology, Ethnology and Prehistory), their collections, and
the knowledge they represent, the Musee de l'Homme is the only establishment
in the world which represents the biological and cultural diversity of
humanity in a single place.

Its main originality resides in the fact that it draws together three aims:
conservation; research; and teaching and promotion of knowledge. It
represents a centre for the disciplines which it helps develop. As a result,
it receives many school groups. Specialists from the world over find an
unique situation for research and exchange in its laboratories associated
with the scientific collections.

Why is the Musee de l'Homme under threat?

A commission, instigated by the French President, has decided to replace it
with a 'Museum of Civilisations and First Arts' (Ministerial meeting of 7
October 1996).

The Musee de l'Homme would disappear. The collections of the department of
Ethnology, containing over 300,000 objects, would be attributed to the
Ministry of Culture and hence diverted from their scientific vocation. The
new museum would reduce the artefacts to just their aesthetic dimension, thus
removing them from their historical and cultural context. The origins and
biological diversity of humans would no longer appear as the essential
explanatory framework for the development of their civilisations, cultures
and arts.

The proposed museum would be a new Public Administration Establishment (EPA),
which would open the door to temporary work contracts for its running. This
project implies a considerable waste of human and financial resources, due to
the fragmentation of services and research departments. What would happen to
the permanent staff of the National Education and Research in this context?

What do we want?

We call for the withdrawal of the project to create a museum of 'First Arts'
in place of the Musee de l'Homme. This project will not meet the needs of the
general public and nor will it be in the interests of scientific research and

We are asking for the renovation of the present Musee de l'Homme and its
maintenance within the Museum d'Histoire naturelle and the Ministry for

We make this appeal all those who value the Musee de l'Homme and its
commitment to research and teaching. Please express your support for the aims
of the committee by completing and returning the form below, or by completing
our online bulletin at,


I support the Committee for the defence of the Musee de l'Homme

SURNAME, first name:





Send to: Comite de Defense du Musee de l'Homme, 17 Place du Trocadero, 75116
PARIS, France. E-mail: phm@mnhn.fr