Muséum national d'Histoire Naturelle (National Museum of Natural History).
Galerie de l'Evolution.
The museum was formally founded on 10 June 1793, during the French Revolution. Its origins lie, however, in the Jardin royal des plantes médicinales (Royal Medicinal Plant Garden) created by King Louis XIII in 1635, which was directed and run by the royal physicians. The royal proclamation of the boy-king Louis XV on 31 March 1718, however, removed the medical function, enabling the garden—which became known simply as the Jardin du Roi (King's Garden)—to focus on natural history.
For much of the 18th century (1739–1788), the garden was under the direction of Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, one of the leading naturalists of the Enlightenment, bringing international fame and prestige to the establishment. The royal institution remarkably survived the French Revolution by being reorganized in 1793 as a republican Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle with twelve professorships of equal rank. Some of its early professors included eminent comparative anatomist Georges Cuvier and evolutionary pioneers Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck and Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. The museum's aims were to instruct the public, put together collections and conduct scientific research. It continued to flourish during the 19th century, and, particularly under the direction of chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul, became a rival to the University of Paris in scientific research. For example, during the period that Henri Becquerel held the chair for Applied Physics at the Muséum (1892–1908) he discovered the radiation properties of uranium. (Four generations of Becquerels held this chairmanship, from 1838 to 1948.)
A decree of 12 December 1891 ended this phase, returning the museum to an emphasis on natural history. After receiving financial autonomy in 1907, it began a new phase of growth, opening facilities throughout France during the interwar years. In recent decades, it has directed its research and education efforts at the effects of human exploitation on the environment. In French public administration, the Muséum is classed as a grand établissement of higher education.
- Copyright: Frederic GODEBOUT (delnaja) (2052)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2010-07-24
- Categories: Architecture
- Camera: Canon 450 D
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Muséum national d'Histoire Naturelle [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2012-05-03 10:09