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After more than 5 years closed for renovation works, the much awaited Musée de l’Homme (the Mankind Museum) came back to the Parisian museums’ scene in style. Unfortunately, there are few opportunities to visit this museum for free so I had to wait for the last Journées du Patrimoine weekend (end of September) to take our chance.
Inaugurated in 1938 the Musée de l’Homme focuses on the evolution of humans. It is not only about the anthropological point of view, there is also the social and cultural approach. This description may sound a little bit serious (or boring) but actually this is a great museum to visit with kids thanks to a winning combination of different experiences (contemplating, touching, listening, smelling . . .) where all the senses are engaged.
THE MUSÉE DE L’HOMME
The Musée de l’Homme has three main sections: WHO ARE WE?, WHERE DO WE COME FROM? and WHERE DE WE HEAD?
The first part of the museum focuses on the exploration of our identity-based in different criteria. Are we flesh and blood beings? Beings of thought? Social beings?
The second part of the museum invites the visitor to learn how the human species and their traits have come down through the ages through a path that was not linear as we all once thought.
The last part of the visit is a trip through time as we explore the history of globalization and anthropization. At the same time, visitors discover the state of the planet and the ecological impact of human activity.
OUR MUSÉE DE L’HOMME MUSTS
THE LARGE HANGING RAIL FULL OF BUSTS
This is the centerpiece of the museum’s reopening, a large hanging rail linking the museum’s level 1 to level 2 with 91 plaster busts representing the human diversity. It’s very impressive!
SHAKING HANDS WITH A CHIMPANZEE, A NEANDERTHAL MAN, AND AN HOMO SAPIENS
There is also a lane with their footsteps so if you follow them putting your feet on them you can feel their funny way of walking!
THE WALL MAP OF THE WORLD WITH ITS SPOKEN LANGUAGES
In our world, there are over 7.000 languages spoken by 7 billion of humans. Six languages are spoken by the 75% of the world population. Other languages may disappear in the following years if we don’t do anything. Visitors can stick the mural tongues out to listen to the world’s languages.
SMELL DIFFERENT RICE PREPARATIONS COMING FROM DIFFERENT POINTS OF THE WORLD
A table in the form of a half grain of empty rice presents the history of rice and the variety of ways different civilizations prepare it. Cooking methods, recipients and odors demonstrate the many ways we have found to feed ourselves.
THE ROUND SCREEN
Through this installation hanging on the ceiling, visitors discover the state of the planet, the ecological impact of human activities and the ways societies relate to their environment. Watching these images it was clear to me that the way we are growing and developing is not compatible AT ALL with the growth of the resources we need. How will we get by without oil and how will we feed 9 billion people? What do we need to do to change the course of this coming disaster?
THE EIFFEL TOWER
Before entering the exhibition on the first level, on the left side, there is an amazing view of Eiffel Tower without tourists. Even if this museum is located in the 16th district and the Eiffel Tower is in the 7th Arrondissement of Paris, the view is perfect. It was very difficult to start our visit with such an amazing sight, I would have stayed there admiring the Eiffel Tower for hours!
7 BILLION HUMANS PROJECT
I would like to end this post with the trailer of Yann Artus Bertrand’s interesting project 7 Billion humans. The heart of this project is to show everything that unites us, links us and differentiates us through thousands of interviews about different topics. Enjoy!
Le Musée de l’Homme is at 17 Place du Trocadéro, in Paris 16. Metro Station Trocadéro L6,9; Velib Station #16014; Tickets: Full price 10€
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