Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (French National Natural History Museum)

Environmental awareness and protecting the planet lie at the heart of contemporary debates. The Muséum is fully committed to these issues and occupies a position of reference thanks to its varied missions, which include basic and applied research, conservation and the expansion of its collections, education, expertise and the dissemination of knowledge.

The Muséum is a research centre and draws on laboratory work and worldwide expeditions, a wide range of disciplines, outstanding collections and recognised expertise. Its mission is also to share knowledge, which it does through education and dissemination activities. With a clear objective – to make knowledge about the natural world accessible to everyone and to make as many people as possible aware of the importance of protecting our planet.

 One of the Muséum’s distinctive features is that its activity is spread over 13 sites throughout France. Its historic heart is situated in Paris, at the Jardin des Plantes, where laboratories, exhibition galleries, a zoo and educational institutions can all be found. Two other key Parisian sites must also be mentioned – the Parc Zoologique de Paris and the Musée de l’Homme (re-opened in October 2015). The remaining sites to be discovered in all four corners of France include two marine stations, an arboretum, a zoo, botanical gardens, a prehistoric excavation site and laboratories.

This historic institution was created in 1635. Originally a royal garden for medicinal purposes and an educational institution, it became the Natural History Muséum in 1793. For four centuries, it has been the source of major scientific discoveries in natural sciences. It has developed over the years thanks to some great minds. Buffon in the 18th century and Daubenton, Lamarck, Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and Cuvier in the 19th century all provided excellent teaching, extended and studied the collections and were deeply committed to sharing their knowledge with the public.

Today, many different professions exist side by side at the Muséum. Teacher-researchers hunting down knowledge to make scientific progress, taxidermists devoted to giving back power, movement and expression to specimens in the collections, gardeners rising to the challenge of growing plants from different climates in the alpine garden, electricians, carpenters, reception assistants, vets, museologists… all working with the same passion and with one single aim – to further explore and promote nature in order to protect it better.

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