Right opposite the Eiffel Tower, on the tremendous Place du Trocadéro, a brand new museum awaits you ! After more than six years of renovation, the Musée de l'Homme (Museum of Mankind) was finally reopened on October 17th, 2015. And it is showing a whole new face ! Built as a journey through the history of mankind, with its specificities, problematics and stakes, the museum offers a visit shaped as a questioning on what it means to be human, and our place in space and time. Quite an ambitious bet, which has been neatly organised around three fundamental questions : Who are we ? Where do we come from ? Where are we going ?
A changed place
In 1882, the museum was born as the Trocadéro Museum of Ethnography. At this time marked by colonialism, it was based on ethnocentric and evolutionist views. The anthropological aspect of its collections justified that when its museography was revisited half a century later, the Trocadéro Museum of Ethnography started to work hand in hand with the Natural History Museum of Paris (as it still does to this day).
It was only in 1938 that the museum was re-named Musée de l'Homme (Museum of Mankind). Under the influence of its creator Paul Rivet, this change of title was a way of making the museum a part of the fight against the growing racist views of this period of time. The Musée de l'Homme became a multidisciplinary place which goal was public education, rather than the sole exhibition of curiosities and colonial hauls. It was meant to recreate a synthesis of the history of mankind, considering its biological and cultural aspects.
In the 1990s, when the Musée du Quai Branly was create, the Musée de l'Homme lost part of its collection and had to redefine its individuality and revisit its didactic discourse. An ambitious reshuffle project was ordered in 2008, and ended with the recent opening of the new Museum of Mankind. The content and shape of the museum have been completely changed. The transition is a true success, with a brand new museum that now presents its collections as a way to better understand the evolution of mankind and societies by creating a true dialogue between the biological, social and cultural approaches.
A modern place, a place of many faces
The Musée de l'Homme has a double goal : on the one hand, to explain and present our knowledge about our own species as humans, about our present, our past and our future ; and on the other hand, to be a space for debating on questions regarding mankind and societies. Thus, it is not simply a museum in the usual sens of the word, but a living place that places evolutions in the center of its museographical discourse as well as its operation as an institution. It is not only a place for exhibitions, but first and foremost a place for reflection.
Within this museum, visitors will enjoy the impressive Gallery of Mankind and the rooms hosting temporary exhibitions, but they will also be able to learn and take place in the actuality of Human Science in many dedicated places : auditorium, Science balcony, ressource center, education rooms... On top of the regular conferences and projections, the museum also offers educational workshops that allow the visitors to further enrich their knowledge and wonder together about problematics regarding mankind.
This transition has also projected the Musée de l'Homme into the XXIst century by providing access to modern, innovative and ludic educational means. Computers and tablets are scattered around the different spaces and allow visitors of all ages to dig deeper in the topics that interest them. The museum is arranged in a modern and estonishing way, sowing ludic elements that offer surprising ways to access information and to question ourselves differently. A video animation will transform your face into the one of your Neanderthal cousin, while an « Odor bar » offers you to take a quick trip around the world by smelling different rice-based gastronomic specialties from several countries... Not to mention the gigantic « Wall of tongues », on which you will be able to press your ear and listen to douzens of spoken languages from around the globe !
Musée de l'Homme
17, place du Trocadéro
Metro : Trocadéro (lines 6 and 9)
Bus : Trocadéro (lines 22, 30, 32, and 63)
Open everyday except Tuesdays, from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Open until 9 p.m on Wednesdays.
Full fare : Museum + temporary exhibition = 10€
Reduced fare : Museum + temporary exhibition = 8€
Free entrance for children under 13.
To avoid waiting in line, you can book your tickets in advance on the website of the museum : http://mnhn.museedelhomme.tickeasy.com/fr-FR/accueil