The Musée de l’Homme, a venerable cultural institution housed in a wing of the Palais de Chaillot since 1938, reveals its newly renovated look.
In the building constructed for the Universal Exposition of 1937, everything (or almost) except the walls has changed. After visiting the reception area on the ground floor and the adjoining bookshop and Café de l’Homme restaurant, we climb a broad stairway to an atrium, which can also be reached by elevator (like all the areas here). The atrium is the nerve center of the museum, which is run by the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle. The ceiling of its huge hall was removed to reveal a glass roof that dates back to the former palais du Trocadéro (1878). From there, we can move on to the auditorium and resource center, which is where the Galerie de l’Homme visit begins, with the permanent exhibition covering 2,500 sq. m. on two levels. A stairway and mezzanine have been constructed to connect them.
Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? These three questions form the connecting thread of the itinerary, which was jointly planned with scientific advisors. Various fields of knowledge are explored along the way: biology, anthropology, ethnology, history… Each item or series is accompanied by an explanation. Showcases of various sizes, alcoves, panels, curtains carrying texts, touch screens, videos and so on: everything is designed to encourage visitors to enjoy themselves while thinking about the things they are discovering. The fascinating journey begins with an examination of what a human being is, along with analysis of our ways of thinking and relationships with other animals. The second part of the itinerary takes us back to the origins of humanity. It looks at both extinct species of hominids and the one that spread across the 0entire globe: ours! We then reach the age of modern humanity with its increasingly globalized lifestyles. A customized Dakar minibus expresses modern cultural interaction. Inside it, we ‘ride’ through a city where tradition and modernity coexist. Finally, the Balcon des sciences that overlooks the atrium is dedicated to news of research, particularly the work of the scientists here at the musée de l’Homme. Their laboratories are just above your head… but the visit ends here.