Monday, May 16, 2005

Anatomy and Paleontology

Saturday, my friend and her two boys met up with our family to take advantage of La Nuit des Musees. We decided to start with the Natural History museum at the Jardin des Plantes, specifically the Gallery of Comparative Anatomy and Paleontology -- basically a bone museum. We thought this would appeal to the kids.

We arrived at the Anatomy and Paleontology museum at 7pm on the dot. There was a bit of a line, but that evaporated once the museum doors were opened. By the time we got into the museum it was pretty packed, but we could move through the exhibits.

The comparative anatomy seeks differences and resemblances making it possible to distinguish and classify the species. Paleontology is the study of the developing history of life on earth, of ancient plants and animals based on the fossil record. In other words there were lots of skeletons and fossils to view in the museum. The museum itself seemed like a relic. The displays and the accompanying descriptive postings look like they haven't been touched since 1898, when the museum doors were first opened.

Rhinos, Horses and Bears, oh my...

The kids didn't care about all that, of course. They thought the skeletons were cool and they kept asking "which animal was that?" They weren't scared or turned off by anything at the museum. Of course, the bonus was that at the end my kids bought a medallion to add to their collection. The museum tour went so well, my girlfriend and I decided to push our luck and go to another museum.....

-- said Auntie M in Paris
11:03 AM



Hi Auntie !

The museum itself seemed like a relic. The displays and the accompanying descriptive postings look like they haven't been touched since 1898, when the museum doors were first opened.

You've hit the nail on the head; (smile)

This has been almost-front-page news for over two years now. The museum and the exhibits are in truly bad shape. Apparently the roof leaks, and it's a whole lot worse the closer one looks. The Ministry is apparently waiting for the City to cough up some matching cash so that the most urgent repairs and restorations can be undertaken. Since the Zoo in the Bois de Vincennes is allegedly in even worse shape, some of the current restoration money that the Ministry and City have is earmarked for it, although it ought to have gone directly to the Museum (they're in the same budget item).

The City is not too keen on financing the reconstruction of the Vincennes Zoo (built in 1934 and expected to last 50 years only) and is reportedly waiting for the Mayor of Saint-Mande, the adjacent suburb, to come up with some kind of joint financing plan with the Ministry and private donors.


# posted by L'Amerloque : 12:38 PM  

I have been reading your posts for quite some time and I really enjoy everything you write and everywhere you go! You are my own personal tour guide of Paris. So I just wanted to de-lurk and say thanks!

# posted by mommy d : 8:52 PM  

L'A, Very interesting. Sometimes I imagine how fun it would be to know all these current events... for now I blissfully ignorant. I hope the museum gets the funds it needs for a renovation. It could be so much more!

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 9:07 PM  

I love reading all about Paris and visit almost daily to do just that... but today, here is what I thought ... you must be one of the most amazing mothers on the face of the earth! You take your children to the most fascinating places and are kind enough to accompany them to new friend's homes ... and ... well, all over the world. It's very refreshing.

# posted by Becca : 3:52 AM  

About fifteen years ago, a friend of mine tried to donate a family private collection to the museum & was turned down for "the good" of his well-preserved collection. On that occasion, he was given an insider "tour of the house" & shown the sad state of some of the rooms inaccessible to the public with cabinets, drawers etc. damaged by humidity, and was told that it was the condition of the whole museum. When he came out, his comment was that, depending on the temperature, only bogs or tropical plants & a mushroom collection would thrive there! *Vraiment dommage* for the conservation of 17th, 18th & 19th century treasures the "Museum national d'histoire naturelle" houses!

Frania W.

# posted by Frania W. : 4:41 PM  

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