Friday Heirloom 91: Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle, La Rochelle

Friday Heirloom 91: Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle, La Rochelle

Check out the Highlights of March here

What is it that makes some animals instinctively worthy or unworthy of our trust?

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Cover Photo: Mammals on the Bay of La Rochelle (field mouse, wild vole, wild rabbit, European hare, red fox)

Is it their cuteness? Their somehow evident fragility? Or do we love them because of their unique, wild and free nature?

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The entrance of the MHNLR

This and more questions passed through my head as I was exploring the Natural History Museum of La Rochelle, just about two weeks ago.

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Apis Mellifica by Thomas Monin set at the museum entrance

The Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle is a scientific institution that has been located at the heart of the city for nearly two centuries. As you may guess, natural and cultural heritage have no secrets here!

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Five herons

Learning, conservation, exchange and knowledge are only some of the things the community of La Rochelle associates with the Muséum’s exhibitions and collections (over 10,000 objects whose gathering started back in the 18th century).

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One of the most beautiful rooms at the Muséum is the Clément Lafaille cabinet (pictured up here), with its 18th century furniture and collection of the most beautiful and fragile creatures of the sea.

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Hexapodes (butterflies)

The cabinet has been recently restored, as I learned, just like the whole exhibition space, which reopened in 2007 on five floors, following the ancient architecture of the building.

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Birds of the coastal area, predators between land and sea

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Mirror selfie with the birds of the coastal area

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The pelagic fauna (Philippines)

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Albatross (seabird)

A few floors are dedicated to the cultural diversity of people from outside Europe (mostly Oceania, Africa and America).

This is a museum whose collections have been built gradually and over time: the natural history collections date back to 18th century, the archaeological collections are from the 19th century and the ethnography collections from the 20th century.

Take a look at a few details I loved:

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Little sculptures from North Cameroun

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Representations of power in the Amazonian societies

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Musical instruments from Africa

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Masks: evoking the spirit of the dead

And one of the staircases was a serious case of “STAIRCASE CRUSH”! (pictured below)

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Then I headed to the temporary exhibition on Dinosaurs, which is actually on until September 2019.

Did you know that 140 million years ago this part of France was populated by dinosaurs (and small mammals)? It’s just that their sites are now buried under the countless vineyards.

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Was this the biggest dinosaur in town?

Last but not least, I visited the garden (Jardin des Plantes). Children breaking free from museum fatigue were skipping and jumping…

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I had a good time at the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle of La Rochelle. Make sure to check it out if you’re ever in town! Here is their website, just in case.

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