“A museum is an institution permanent, non-profit-making, with the service of the company and of its development, opened with the public and which makes research concerning the material witnesses of the man and his environment, acquires these, the preserve, communicates them and in particular exposes them at ends of studies, education and delight. ” Official Definition of the ICOM (the International counsel of the museums).
A museum is thus a place where objects are exposed. The museums are often specialized, it exists five main categories about it: museums of Art, museums of History, the museums of Sciences, museums of the technique and ethnology.
Origin and evolution of the word
Étymologiquement, the museum term comes from the Greek Museion , temple of the Muses, divinities of the Art S. It is with the Renaissance, in particular in Italy, which one named thus these galleries containing of the objets d'art: places inhabited by the Muses. Érasme, in Cicéronien (1528) teaches us what were the museums of Rome at that time: “So by chance it sometimes happened to you to see in Rome the “museums” of the cicéroniens, thus make an effort of memory please, to point out to you where you could well have seen the image of the Crucifié, of the Holy Trinity or the Apôtre S. You will have found on the contrary everywhere the monuments of the Paganisme. And as regards the tables, Jupiter precipitating in the form of gold rain in the center of Danaé collects the glances more that the Archange Gabriel announcing with the Blessed Virgin her divine design. ”
The word museum, in its modern meaning, appears in Italy in second half of the 15th century, in its Latin form, natural history museum , following the Renaissance. Indeed, the Italian princes are the first to consider the idea of a collection of tables and sculptures, gathered, offered in comparison of the travellers and artists inside the courses and with the gardens, then in the galleries (broad corridor connecting a building to the other). They associate the concepts of public and collection, work of art (this one remaining very restricted, concerning only guests of the princes, which are very often of other princes), thus posing the components of the future museum of arts. It is only at the end of the 18th century that the word of Muséum is forsaken in favor of that of museum, the term of natural history museum indicating today only the museums devoted to the Natural science.
The museum and the public collection, such as we know them today, are a relatively recent invention, since it dates from the 18th century, and can be regarded as the fruit of the Philosophie of the Lights. In France, it is the Revolution which sets up the first museums, to make available to the citizens the works of art of the royal collections or those which were confiscated with noble and at the religious congregations. The museum, place official of the exposure of art, consequently occupies a central place in the life of the city. With Paris, it is the Palais of the Louvre which is selected to become a museum.
The goal of the museum, public institution at the beginning, is to make available to all the collective inheritance from the Nation, the idea of beautiful and the knowledge through a selection of objects. The museum shows art, but also science, the technique, the history, all the new disciplines carrying progress and modernity.
The science of the museums
The museum is seen allotting three essential functions: to collect, preserve and show. These functions are the subject of disciplines specific to the museum: the Museology dedicated to the study of the institution and its social function and the Muséographie more precisely in charge of the operational aspects such as architecture, the installations, the organization of the museums.
The management of the cultural heritage obeys two contradictory logics. Initially that of the collection, applied by the Moma. In this logic, the collector tries to join together the best works. If it has two of them which is not excellent, it does not hesitate to separate some with the profit from one only other. If it has two of them which is redundant, it sells some to acquire some another which supplements its collection. In the jargon of the private collectors, that is called an arbitration. There is then the logic of the conservation of the inheritance, applied by the Louvre, which with the advantage of being less dependant on the modes but which is also much more demanding on the level of the reserves.
mouseion with the modern museum: a history of museumsComes from mouseion : place devoted to the Muses. The first museum is built with Alexandria with a big room of conference, gantries, peripateticians and a coterie for the meals. It is at the time (O C 1st century after J. - C.), a college of scholars philologists, pensioned by the royal patronage, exempted concern of the existence to devote itself to the study. The scientists who attend it (philologists, mathematicians, astronomers, geographers, poets) could use the famous library, as well as the botanical gardens and zoological, the astronomical observatory or the laboratory of anatomy. They observe nature and the texts there. Place of research and study, the mouseion , taking again the precepts of the college of Aristote in Greece, will make of Alexandria the principal intellectual hearth of the Period Héllénistique. But with the fire of Alexandria, this museion disappears and with him the practice.
With the the Middle Ages, it is the collectionnism which makes its appearance, thanks to the treasures of the medieval churches and the old temples which become for the kings and of noble precious substance reserves. Without forgetting the ivories and the tapestries which accompany the noble ones by castle in castle. Moreover, the portraits of an incipient middle-class spread in Europe the format of the table and large-sized historical paintings decorate the galleries of the castles become places of representation and to be able from.
And it is precisely at that time that the idea of museum remakes its appearance: it is then the period of the Renaissance, period when one redécouvre the Antiquité, through in particular the texts of the Greek and Roman philosophers (Plato, Aristote, Plutarque…). In parallel, one discovers in the Italian basement of the material vestiges of Antiquity, and in particular the remainders of columns, statues, vases, currencies, fragments engraved… And one starts to collect them, initially the humanistic ones and princes (Cyriaque d' Ancôme, Niccolo Niccoli, to advise of Like the Old one of Médicis, but also the family Borghèse and the family Farnèse), then during the enthusiast middle-class rich person time of culture and History. Many collections of medals and antiques are established a little everywhere in Italy. To the medals (i.e. currencies), one adds the famous portraits of men, as Paul Jove which decides the first to expose its collection of coins and 400 portraits of important men of its time. It presents them in a house built for the occasion to Borgo-Vico, beside Like. In reference to the museion of Antiquity it decides to call this place museum. The collections will multiply and impassion the princes and other curious. The museums then will flower in all Europe and each one sees a window of its power there.
Medium of the 16th century at the 18th century, with the multiplication of the voyages of exploration will be added to it collections of Natural history, even of scientific instruments (like that of the voter of Saxony with Dresden). It is the golden age of the Cabinets of curiosities. All these collections little by little will be organized by specialities starting from the end of the 17th century, and will open gradually with an audience larger than that of the princes and scientists (example of the Ashmoléen museum to Oxford, the first to be opened with the public in 1683).
As from the 18th century, the openings of the private collections multiply everywhere in Europe, of London (British Museum), with Florence (Galerie of the Offices), while passing by Saint-Pétersbourg (Palais of winter), Munich (Hofgarten), or Vienna (Palais of the View-point). In France, it will be necessary to await the Révolution to see Louvre opening to the public in 1793. In the same way, the national Natural history museum of Natural history which is created the same year or the Musée of the French monuments in 1795 or the Conservatoire of arts and trades (1794). Starting from this date, the Revolution extending abroad, the republican armies bring back to France the products of their conquests, namely the treasures of the European, and in particular Italian collections (conquest of Italy by Bonaparte starting from 1796). Masterpieces of European art (and in particular of the Italian Rebirth) take the way of France and are disseminated partly in the museums of province created for the occasion (Rennes, Marseilles, Strasbourg, Toulouse… but also Mainz or Brussels become French).
The 19th century sees a return to Antiquity, as at the time of the Rebirth; but this time, it is the road of the Orient which the researchers take (often also described as plunderers). The Greece is the first destination: as of 1812, the crown prince to the Kingdom of Bavaria buys statues and other fragments released in 1811 of the temple of Égine. To shelter them and expose them to the public, it will make build a " Glyptothèque " or gallery of sculpture, built, obviously, in the Greek style purest, with a gantry with grooved column of Doric order. The other European nations take over quickly (and fashion): in 1816, the English Parliament buys the marbles of the Parthenon of Athens, which had been dismounted and repatriated in England by Lord Elgin, ambassador of Great Britain with Constantinople. They will find refuge in the British Museum, which also had just acquired the planks of the temple of Apollo of Bassae. And he also will undergo its transformation into Greek temple in 1823. And France is not in remainder: in 1820, the marquis of the River, ambassador from France to Constantinople acquires it from now on celebrates Venus de Milo, which always makes the happiness of Louvre. Previously, its predecessor, the count de Choiseul-Gouffier had organized the transfer in France of the plank of the Panathénées. After Greece, the Egypt. In 1798, the young general Bonaparte is sent in this country to put at evil the power England in the Eastern Mediterranean and at the the Indies. It is accompanied by 160 scientists, astronomers, naturalists, mathematicians, chemists but also of the painters, draftsmen or architects charged to explore Egypt and to better know the History, the nature and the habits of the country. If the military conquest proves to be a complete failure, the scientific exhibition is on the other hand a formidable success which will be at the origin of the “égyptomanie”, in vogue in first half of the 19th century. In testifies two splendid works, first of all the Voyage in the low one and high Egypt of Alive-Denon (which was member of forwarding) and especially monumental the Description of Egypt , appeared between 1809 and 1822, in 20 volumes. To testify to the brought back richnesses of the country, is created in 1826 the Egyptian museum of Louvre, directed by Jean-François Champollion, that one even which deciphered the Hiéroglyphes thanks to the Pierre de Rosette, which it, is exposed to London, with the British Museum. Lastly, last destination of the Eastern Archeology of this first half of the 19th century: the Mésopotamie. In 1847 is created in Louvre the Assyrian museum , enriched by the excavations led to Ninive by the French Consul Paul-Emile Botta like by those by the mission led to Khorsabad by Victor Place between 1852 and 1854. Among the parts exposed in this new section of Louvre the famous " appears; Winged bulls of Khorsabad" who surround a door of the museum.
But this interest for the oriental archeology does not prevent from being interested in the History of its own country, even of its own locality: thus, from many museums are born from the local research carried out by learned societies. It is the case with Caen in 1824 like in many other towns of France. One finds elements of architecture as well there as religious objects, statues or coins; any lucky find of the local past is thus studied and preserved. Concerning the National history are the Heads of State who are very often the instigators. Thus, in France, it is Louis Philippe which creates the gallery of the Battles of the Château of Versailles starting from 1837. Long, it 120 meters is decorated of 33 paintings representing the great military battles which France knew, of Tolbiac (496) to Wagram in 1809 while passing by the year 1792 or that of 1830, without forgetting the medieval period where a room of the Croisades exposes the blazons of the families which defended the Chrétienté. Other tables will be ordered after the opening, recalling the conquest of the Algérie or the wars of the Second Empire (the Crimea, Italy and 1870 - 1871). This historical museum supposed is expressed the unit and continuity main roads. Other museums, more specialized, are also created or evolve/move during the 19th century. It is the case of the museum of the French Monuments, created with the Revolution but which due to close its doors in 1816. It will be transformed into museum of the Middle Ages in 1844, thanks to the collector Alexandre of Sommerard which installed with the Hôtel of Cluny true odds and ends of objects medieval and reappearing. Another museum of History specialized created during this century, that of the National antiquities, rested by the emperor Napoleon III (which dedicates a great interest for the history of the Gaulle) in 1862 with the Château of Saint-Germain-in-Bush hammer, in the Yvelines.
But art is not forgotten. The museum of art is used indeed at that time as place of formation for the students and the artists. Those did not cease, throughout the century, “copying” the masterpieces present in the large museums and in particular in Louvre, so much so that one is to oblige to fix rules: the same table cannot be copied by more than three people at the same time. The copy of sculpture also goes there from good progress: in 1840, the catalog of the moulding shop of Louvre counts 300 models. In 1885, it counts some nearly a thousand and in 1927, year of the closing of the workshop, it are not less than 1500 moulds which are transferred with the Musée of the compared sculpture, created in 1882 according to a expensive project with Purple-the-Duke. He makes party today Cité of architecture and inheritance, installed with the Palais of Chaillot, under the term of museum of the French monuments, like a return to the Revolution. Out of the capital, the museums of art multiply: after Amiens, it is with the turn of Grenoble, then Marseilles, Rouen, Lille or Nantes to build some. It is the same out of Europe: with the the United States, the Metropolitan Museum off New York and the museum of the Art schools of Boston open in 1870, followed by that of Philadelphia (1875) and Chicago (1879).
In this second half of the century, in fact only the large museums attract the public, but also the great exposures. The social utility of the public museum becomes thus an obvious kind: “works of the genius belong to the posterity and must leave the field deprived to be delivered to public admiration” writes Alfred Bruyas, friend and guard of Gustave Courbet when in 1868, it offers its collection to the town of Montpellier. Thus, as of the years 1820, of the exposures organize themselves in Louvre, and not only artistic exposures. Indeed, the 19th century sees industry developing, and the museums are welcome to expose the products of French industry. Thus are born the art schools, the World Fairs and the museums of applied art. The first of them opens in 1852 in London, after the first World Fair organized in this city one year before. Henri Sticks, contractor and gentleman victorien is then charged to form a permanent collection while repurchasing for 5000 pounds, of the objects exposed to the World Fair which has just finished. One finds a ground with South Kensington and quickly, the museum, with its multiple collections, its school of art, its amphitheater and its library, becomes an envied model. It is renamed thereafter Victoria and Albert Museum. In the years which follow, of many other museums of decorative art are born, of Vienna with Budapest, while passing by Stockholm and Berlin. For France, it will be necessary to await 1905 to see appearing such a museum in Paris. However, as of 1856, a similar museum is décicé with Lyon, on the initiative of the Chamber of commerce of the city. The following year takes place one of the most ambitious artistic exposures, " Art Treasures" , organized with Manchester, in England. She wants to be the synthesis of old art, with a retrospective of old paintings and sculptures, and contemporary art, with decorative art and a choice of contemporary English paintings. Popular success is there such as special trains are chartered of London. The popular success of the exposures and the museums is the reflection of a policy of instruction and popularization which marks the last quarter of the 19th century, especially in France: " the reorganization of the museum is it corollary of that of the école" according to the terms of a ministerial circular going back to 1881. The governmental incentives are relayed by association campaigns, as that which a lawyer of Lisieux carries out, Edmond Groult, in favor of the cantonal museums: “moraliser by the instruction, to charm by arts, to enrich by sciences”, such is the slogan of this militant of the lesson of thing, which manages to cause the creation of about fifty these small local encyclopedias. Others, more ambitious, create completely specific museums like the industrialist Emile Guimet, which, while seeking which were the men more the benefactors of happinesses, found that they were the founders of the religions, from where creation, initially with Lyon (1879) then in Paris (1889), of museums of History of the religions of Orient, which bears its name today.
Final chapter on the museums at the 19th century, that of the ethnographic museums. Those are the heirs to the cabinets of curiosities enriched by the voyages by exploration then by the formation by the colonial empires. They are born when the Ethnographie itself becomes an autonomous discipline, i.e. in the middle of the 19th century. However, since 1837, with return of a voyage to Japan, the doctor and botanist Philip Franz Von Siebold are charged by the king with Holland with organizing in museum the collections that it had paid some. Thus is born the Muséum Voor Volkerkunde from Leyde. The example is diffused then in Germany, with Leipzig, Munich then Berlin. In England, the university of Oxford profits in 1883 from the gift from the Pitt-Rivers general, who had started to collect the weapons to follow the improvements of them. In Paris, the shortly after the World Fair of 1878, AND Hamy, professor of anthropology to the national natural history museum of Natural history, is charged to open a museum of ethnography to the new palate of the Trocadéro. At this time, the museographic innovations come from the Scandinavian countries: stimulated by a strong will of national assertion, local research in ethnography encouraged the conservation of material testimonys of the popular traditions. Thus was born in 1873 the Nordiska Museet in Stockholm, museum devoted to all the regions “where a language speaks itself about Scandinavian stock”. The objects of the rural life as those of the urban life are presented there “in animated interiors of figures and representatives groups of the scenes of the intimate life and domestic occupations of the life”. This presentation of the traditional interiors take as a starting point the wax museums, very in vogue at the same time, like the Musée Grévin, which opens in Paris in 1882. In 1884 opens a room of Europe to the museum of Trocadéro, where one sees a Breton interior made up of seven mannequins life size. Lastly, always in the field of the ethnographic museums, opens to the public in 1837, the Musée of the Navy, in ten rooms of Louvre. Y are exposed, on the one hand, “the models of the old and new French ships”, on the other hand, brought back ethnographic curiosities of the remote regions by the navigators. In the first room, one assembled a strange pyramid, formed of the remains (bells, was of gun, parts of anchor…) boats of Perugia, the Compass and Astolabe , shipwrecked men in 1788 on the island of Vanikoro, in the Pacific Ocean.
The revival of the museums, during the Years 1980, particularly touched the Musées of contemporary art but also the archaeological museums and the museums of site. This general movement, impelled and supported by the State, was taken again by the territorial collectivities which perceived the value symbolic system of this type of cultural equipment. These museums created (Lille, Grenoble, Bordeaux, Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Nimes, etc) or restored (Nantes, Grenoble, Rouen, Lyon, Douai, Nancy, Lille, etc) cause a big rise of the frequentation (260 000 visitors in Grenoble eight month after its opening). The new centers of art (the Store of Grenoble or CAPC of Bordeaux, etc) are the immense spaces, perfectly adapted to the temporary reception of works of a great formal diversity.
Starting from the Years 1990, creation, the restoration or the development of museums and, more generally, cultural die accompany the reconversion by certain areas of industries former disaster victims by the crisis during the Années 1970: Glasgow in Great Britain (Scotland), Valencian, Lille, Roubaix, Creusot, museum Guggenheim of Bilbao (Basque Country Spanish), etc
In the imaginary Museum , André Malraux sticks in 1947 to analyze the phenomenon museologic:
- “the role of the museums in our relation with the works of art is so large, that we have sorrow to think that there are not some and that there exists about it on our premises since less than two centuries. The 19th century lived them, we still live and forget about it that they imposed to the spectators a very new relation with work of Article They contributed to deliver of their function the works of art which they joined together”.
Right of the museums
In FranceFrench the muséal field is regulated with the fourth book of the Code of the inheritance. Initially the ordinance n°45-1546 of the bearing July 13rd, 1945 on the provisional organization of the museums of the fine arts came to regulate this field. This text distinguished three types of museums:
- the 24 national museums,
- ten classified museums,
- the thousand of controlled museums, under the supervision of the Direction of the Museums of France.
This diversity proved nonsatisfactory since it slowed down the implementation of a French Cultural policy muséale. Moreover, this text was in total shift with the concrete evolution, since 1945, related to the diversity of the collections, the management styles, etc For example, the museum was defines very narrowly since one restricted it with the Art schools, during one time or the Contemporary art emerged.
May 25th, 2000, the deputy Alfred Recours deposited with the National Assembly an information paper (n°2418) in which it indicated that “a bill of modernization of the right of the museums would make it possible to renovate a too narrow legal framework, to open it with all the types of museums and the concerns other than scientific, while reorganizing the relations between the State and the territorial collectivities, in order to give to the museums all their place within cultural democratization and of the cultural installation of the territory”.
Consequently, the law n°2002-5 of January 4th, 2002 took as a starting point this report/ratio and finally came to bring up to date the ordinance of 45 theoretically provisional. The goal of this law is to harmonize the rules applicable to the whole of the museums and to take care to preserve certain flexibilities of their management by taking account of the process of cultural Décentralisation. Thus it installation the label Musée of France and worked out a true mode muséal.
The article of the Code of the inheritance widened the definition of the museum like “any permanent collection made up of goods whose conservation and presentation take on an public interest and organized for knowledge, of the education and the pleasure of the public”. Thus this new definition falls under a logic of cultural democratization. Moreover it grants functions of education to the museums.
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