The Musée des Confluences is a museum of natural history, anthropology, societies and civilizations located in Lyon in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Heir to the Guimet Natural History Museum in Lyon, it is housed in a deconstructivist style building of the Coop Himmelb (l) au de 2014 architecture firm, in the La Confluence district, on the southern tip of the Peninsula of Lyon, at the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône (2nd arrondissement of Lyon).
The museum has a legacy over 2.2 million objects gradually gathered into a story of half a millennium of the XVII th to XXI th century. It is the Earth from the beginning, and humanity in its history and geography that the Musée des Confluences questions. Starting from its collections, it combines the most recent research in all fields of science and technology, archeology and ethnology, museography and the mediation of knowledge. With the challenge of reaching as many people as possible, the museum invites all disciplines to arouse curiosity, questioning, the pleasure of understanding and the desire for knowledge.
It takes over the collections and aims to complete its collection through acquisitions. It is the subject of deposits and loans from museums and various institutions (art and culture museums, botanical gardens, foundations, religious congregations, etc.) for its temporary and permanent exhibition spaces. The museum has an activity oriented towards scenography (cooperation with musical performance halls and theaters) and began that of publisher of books (novels around some famous objects from its collection in collaboration with authors of literary texts or drawings and photographs).
The declared project is that of entertaining and artistic pedagogy, “the confluences of knowledge”, at the same time as an architectural signal for the city gate. It is associated with the crossing of the two rivers and put into an urban ensemble with bridges. The “confluence” garden connects the walks established on the banks of the Saône to those of the Rhône in the new way of urbanism of the ecosystem city. This museum is managed by the agglomeration which has become the metropolis of Lyon with a department structure.
Beyond a geographic location that defines it, the Musée des Confluences – which aptly bears its name – is a philosophy of encounter, a taste for exchange, an intelligence of crossed perspectives.
This dynamic project, based on contemporary questions, issues and challenges, is unprecedented in the multiple world of European museums today. Its raison d’être and its ambition are to question the “long term” alone capable of understanding the complexity of the world and ensuring its fundamental mission of disseminating knowledge.
To do this, the Rhône department has chosen an architectural creation, strong, original, in relation to and echoing the intellectual and conceptual project of the museum. Located at the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône, the building designed by the Austrian agency CoopHimmelb (l) at is articulated between Cristal and Nuage, between the mineral and the aerial. An exceptional architecture – and extremely functional – echoing the modernity of the project, its original character, the expansion of its field of investigation and the variety in time and space of its collections.
The museum includes collections of natural science, anthropology, and Earth Sciences of the Musée d’histoire naturelle – Guimet. These collections will be supplemented by exhibitions of arts and crafts.
The four major exhibitions are called “Origins – Stories of the World”, “Species – the Web of life”, “Societies – Human theatre,” and “Eternities – Visions of the beyond”. The first exhibition deals with questions of origin, both the Big Bang theory, history of the universe, as well as the birth of life and evolution of especially humans. The second exhibition, “Species”, explores the links between humans and animals, and evolution of different species. The third exhibition, “societies” is about human societies and how humans build communities. And finally, “Eternities” deals with the meaning of life, the inevitable death of humans, and how that question has been dealt with in different societies.
The museum stands 44 m (144 ft) high, 150 m (492 ft) long, and 83 m (272 ft) wide. Total area will be 22,000 m² (238,000 sq ft), 6,500 of which will be devoted to exhibitions, three times greater than the museum exhibition space. Nine concurrent exhibitions (4 permanent + 5 temporary), plus four discovery spaces and two auditoriums will be available. Construction cost was budgeted for €153 million, but the controversial final cost is now forecast to approach nearly €300 million.
In 2003, a first building permit was issued for the museum. In May 2005, the bowling alley which was on the museum grounds was destroyed. But the promoters discovered a little late that the alluvial site was unstable and prone to flooding, and located too close to the A7 motorway: the reinforcement works cost 6 million euros and a first delay.
Work began on October 10, 2006, and was carried out by the company Bec Frère, a subsidiary of the Fayat group. Quite quickly, disagreements arise between the different actors involved, i.e. the company Bec Frère, the architectural firm Coop Himmelb (l) au and the Société d’Équipement du Rhône et de Lyon (SERL), responsible for the project management. As a result of these disagreements, the site was shut down for 7 months in 2007.
In mid-2008, the site was stopped, the Bec Frère company withdrew from the project, through an amicable termination, on December 4, 2008. Bec Frère is compensated for costs incurred in the amount of 5 million euros. He returns 8 million euros on the advance of 14 million, which he received to carry out project.
In 2009, a call for tenders was launched based on new specifications, which did not receive any offers. A new call for tenders is launched just after the first one closes. Between 16 and 18 companies respond to this, two of them are pre-selected Vinci and Léon Grosse, giving them additional time to respond to the call for tenders. Finally, Vinci made an offer of 117.89 million euros and Léon Grosse an offer of 99.5 million euros.
The work of the Musée des Confluences was finally entrusted to Vinci in January 2010. The specialized companies SMB and Renaudat Center Constructions carry out the studies, the production and the assembly of the metal structure revised in its structure by the modification of the shape of the reception room and its footbridge. Work resumed in April 2010 for an opening on December 20, 2014.
The museum was finally inaugurated on December 20, 2014, in the noticeable absence of the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister or the Minister of Culture.
Coop Himmelb (l) au
Designed by the Austrian agency Coop Himmelb (l) at the Wolf D. Prix & Partner, the architecture suggests the infinite diversity of knowledge and the plurality of vocations of a mixed space, a place of discovery, wonder, knowledge sharing dedicated to all audiences.
Renowned the world over for its buildings with deconstructed architecture, the agency’s works include the BMW Welt museum (Munich, Germany), the Akron Art museum (Ohio, United States), the House of Music II (Alborg, Denmark) or the headquarters of the European Central Bank (Frankfurt, Germany). This is his first achievement in France.
The symbolic place of implantation called for a strong architectural gesture, hence the idea of CoopHimmelb (l) au to respond to the cultural project of the museum by the combination of three architectural units: the Crystal, the Cloud and the Base.
Le Cristal, with a surface area of 1,900 m², is the space dedicated to public entry and the movement of visitors. Under its 33 meters of glass roof, it is the place of meetings and exchanges, which gives access to the Cloud. An architectural tour de force, the Well of Gravity serves as a central support to support the metal structures and stabilizes the Crystal.
Le Nuage, with a surface area of 10,900 m2, is made up of a metal structure and a stainless steel coating. Composed of four levels, it houses all the exhibition rooms:
Level 1 Temporary exhibitions.
Level 2 Permanent exhibitions and workshops.
Level 3 Administration and private spaces.
Level 4 Terrace and Gourmet Counter.
The concrete base, with an area of 8,700 m², is the part on which the Crystal and the Cloud rest. Fourteen poles and three main piers support the 6000 tons of the Cloud. Designed on two semi-underground levels, it includes the two auditoriums, the reception of groups, spaces that can be privatized as well as the museum’s reserves and technical spaces.
The public garden provides unique access to the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. It alternates areas of rest, vegetation and walking.
Installed on the flyover on Quai Perrache, this monumental work by Reunionese artists Kid Kréol & Boogie draws its inspiration from Malagasy traditions. This is a commission from the Musée des Confluences et de la Métropole de Lyon, resonating with the 2019 edition of Peinture fraîche – international street art festival in Lyon.
With more than 2.2 million objects, the collections of the Musée des Confluences are among the richest in France. Some of them are recognized worldwide, such as animal mummies or Cerin fossils.
These collections are organized around 3 major disciplines: natural sciences, human sciences and sciences and techniques.
This is the heart of the collections and among the oldest museum, since their origin in the cabinet of curiosities of Monconys brothers and Pestalozzi the XVII th and XVIII thcenturies. These first sets have unfortunately not been preserved over time due to revolutionary upheavals and successive moves, but the natural history cabinet that resulted from them gradually gave birth to the natural history museum of Lyon (1772 -2007), whose natural science collections grew considerably from the 1830s. They bear witness to the birth of life on Earth, the complex mechanisms of the evolution of living things, but also biodiversity: from this last point Obviously, these collections play a growing historical role with regard to extinct or endangered species.
They bring together different sets:
paleontology: vertebrates, invertebrates and fossil plants resulting from excavation campaigns, donations and acquisitions. This collection is frequently consulted by scientists from all over the world, as it contains tens of thousands of specimens, including more than a thousand types or figures which are the world reference of the species. In addition, the Lyon Natural History Museum has acquired a solid reputation in the field of paleontological excavation sites directed by the curator of Earth sciences, Michel Philippe, particularly in the caves. This partly explains the abundance, diversity and quality of fossils from now famous sites such as La Grive-Saint-Alban (Isère), Saint-Vallier (Drôme), La Fage and Jaurens (Corrèze),
petrology and mineralogy: the latter group constitutes, according to specialists, one of the major public collections of minerals and gems existing in France. It is even considered to be one of the finest European collections, with two internationally renowned series: azurites and fluorites.
Less than expected, the earth sciences also include osteology and physical anthropology, as the latter two sections are mostly consulted by paleontologists for the purpose of making comparisons between fossil forms and current ones. The osteological material consists of complete but unmounted skulls and skeletons of most vertebrates currently living in nature. The anthropology collections, which were largely collected at the end of the XIX th century, include interesting series of prehistoric and archaeological skulls, whose modern skulls from five continents.
They include two large ensembles, whose enrichment and study owe a lot to Joël Clary, curator (1979-2014), and his team:
zoology of vertebrates: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. The collections of mammals and birds are mainly represented by numerous stuffed specimens (mounted or in skins), with the exception of the collections of bats preserved in alcohol. They cover the world’s fauna. We can note the presence of specimens belonging to species now extinct: couagga, thylacine, huias, migrating pigeon, etc. Those of reptiles, amphibians and fish, on the contrary, are mostly kept in liquid, in jars filled with alcohol. They also concern world fauna but are particularly rich in material from Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Mexico.
zoology of Invertebrates: insects, molluscs, crustaceans, etc. This section is quite disparate and the collections, kept mostly dry, are on the whole quite old, except for the insect collections acquired mainly from the 1970s. The two largest groups are made up of entomology (the insects, about 1 million specimens) and malacology (mollusks in the form of shells, about 490,000 specimens). Series of Sponges, Coelenterates, Echinoderms, Crustaceans and Bryozoa complete the collection of Invertebrates. Recently, a series of samples of shells preserved in alcohol have been added from contemporary samples taken from the rivers of the region.
Humanities collections have grown from the XIX th century and consist of two major categories:
regional, national, European and international archeology, including a remarkable section in Egyptology
extra-European ethnology Africa, Near and Middle East, Asia, Oceania, America, Arctic and Polar Circle) and a little European ethnology.
The 2014 proof made it possible to count more precisely the number of items preserved, which amounted to 54,100, including 25,900 for archeology and 28,200 for ethnology.
These collections historically come from four institutions:
The natural history museum of Lyon (1772-2007): the objects of human sciences come in part from the ethnography section created in 1879 at the Palais Saint-Pierre (current Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon). In Lyon as in other cities, museums are at the origin of many historical collections in ethnology. The collection has grown considerably in the late XIX th century under the leadership of Louis Lortet and Ernest Chantre. It has continued to expand since then.
The Guimet museum in Lyon (1879-1883, 1913-1978): the collections were put together between 1879 and 1968, before being merged in 1978 with those of the natural history museum in Lyon. They include all of the works specific to the Musée Guimet in Lyon, as well as those from the deposits of the Musée Guimet in Paris (today the Musée national des arts asian-Guimet) between 1913 and the 1930s.
The Colonial Museum of Lyon (1927-1968): the collections come from objects exhibited during the colonial exhibition in Marseille in 1922. They are expanded during the period of opening of the institution and include furniture, photographs and paintings focusing on North Africa and the Near East.
The Work of the Propagation of the Faith: the collection was deposited in 1979 by the Pontifical Missionaries. This remarkable set of about 3000 parts is made on the ground in the second quarter of the XIX th century by missionaries in direct contact with local people. Some pieces are among the oldest preserved by the museum in the field of ethnology.
Historically, the first pieces entered the collection in the 1870s. Over the years, the collections were enriched mainly by donations, then by purchases motivated by genuine acquisition policies of the various museum institutions that coexist. In the years 1970-1980, the natural history museum of Lyon actively developed collections of human sciences. With the new scientific and cultural project of the museum, the collections experienced a new period of expansion in the 2000s thanks to numerous purchases and donations from individuals: this is for example the case of the Inuit and Aboriginal collections, created under the impulse of Michel Côté, director between 1999 and 2011.
Science and technology
Before 2005, the Lyon natural history museum did not keep any scientific and technical object, apart of course from the laboratory tools used by staff, researchers or even donors. The themes addressed in the permanent exhibitions of the Musée des Confluences, which bring together science and society, make the creation of a new ensemble essential. It develops according to predefined criteria:
Respond to the themes of the exhibitions, Origins, Species and Societies by developing the sciences of astronomy and the measurement of time, the tools of the naturalist, medicine and biotechnologies, technical and industrial innovation;
Favor objects that interact with other collections in the museum: Japanese and Chinese clocks linked to the Asia collections, microscopes linked to entomalgia and mineralogy, etc.
Show that science and technology are not the preserve of the West;
Showcase existing local collections through partnerships.
The most remarkable set is undoubtedly the Giordano collection consisting of 116 simple microscopes, acquired in 2009 in the United States. Other instruments may also be mentioned objects flagship Lyon Observatory (meridian telescope, quadrant), Japanese clocks of the XVIII th century, a set of radiology from the early XX th century (filing HCL) or a particle accelerator from the 1950s (deposit of Universcience). Several sets of technical objects allow to approach the history of techniques, industrial innovation or even design: these are culinary utensils.the conservatory of the SEB group, telecommunication objects from the Orange Historical Collection, a car and an engine from the Berliet Foundation and a Frenkel fermenter donated by Merial.
The collection remains very modest compared to its predecessors: it now has 212 objects, 69 of which are deposits and loans from other institutions that have agreed to help us build a collection ex nihilo. However, it arouses a real curiosity among the public, who do not always have the opportunity to meet such objects. It also motivates individuals and laboratories to enrich it with donations (modern microscopes, PET scanners, etc.) and deposit projects.
For many, the Musée des Confluences may seem a recent creation without a past. However, the museum’s scientific and cultural project is based on a collection of around 2.2 million objects, enriched for several centuries by donations, acquisitions, excavations and even deposits. Paleontology, mineralogy, malacology, entomology, ethnology, Egyptology, archeology and even sciences and techniques constitute its riches, which are distinguished by their scale, their diversity and for some their rarity.
The museum’s collections are divided into three main areas: natural sciences, human sciences and sciences and techniques. They interact in the permanent exhibition halls in a renewed presentation and original scenographies.
Cabinets of curiosities at the natural history museum of Lyon
The XVII th and XVIII th centuries saw the rise of the scientific spirit and encyclopedic curiosity at the time of the Enlightenment. It is therefore not surprising to see cabinets of curiosities flourishing all over Europe which, depending on the case, bring together a true compendium of the world of the time or a specialized collection (physical instruments, machine theaters, etc.). In Lyon and coexist in the XVII th century fifteen firms, one of the most famous is that of the son of merchants Marshal Peter Lyon Monconys, Balthasar de Monconys and Gaspard Liergues.
Gaspard, who also becomes provost of the merchants, is at the origin in 1623 of the collection, which Balthasar enriches at thejourneys between 1628 and 1664 (Spain, Portugal, Provence, Italy, Egypt, Anatolia, England, Netherlands, Germany, Hungary). The collection includes minerals, stuffed animals, medals, books and other curiosities, which are kept in their house on the corner of rue de la Bombarde in Vieux Lyon. On his death in 1660, Gaspard’s cabinet was transferred to Balthasar, who in turn died in 1665. The cabinet was then transferred to Gaspard II, son of Balthasar, who died in 1682: his widow Marie de Quinson inherited his property.
In 1700, the practice was sold by the Monconys heirs to Jérôme-Jean Pestalozzi, doctor at the Hôtel-Dieu, who enriched it with works on medicine and natural sciences, accompanied by objects related to his professional practice. On his death in 1742, the cabinet was passed on to his son Antoine Joseph. In 1763, Pierre Adamoli bequeathed to the Academy his library (today at the Part-Dieu municipal library), his medal and “his small collection of natural history in shells, tree stones, petrification, freezing and minerals from different genres “, on condition that these sets are made available to the public. In 1772, the Monconys-Pestalozzi collection was sold for a life annuity to the City of Lyon, which entrusted it tothe Académie des Sciences, Belles-lettres et Arts de Lyon: this natural history cabinet, which joined the collection of Adamoli’s objects, opened to the public in 1777 at the Hôtel de Ville in Lyon. It is the ancestor of the natural history museum of Lyon.
The revolution of 1789 caused the cabinet to be closed to the public, which was left unattended between 1793 and 1796: many pieces then disappeared. In 1795, the Central Schools were created in France to replace the former colleges and universities of the Ancien Régime, with the obligation to add a natural history cabinet and a botanical garden: the Central School of Lyon was created on 19 September 1796. Jean-Emmanuel Gilibert then made his cabinet made up of insects and a very fine collection of plants available to the School, while the City of Lyon assigned him the cabinet for natural history from the Monconys collections. Pestallozi and Adamoli.
The Jardin des Plantes was created by Gilibert in 1796 in the Clos de l ‘ Abbaye de la Déserte (now Place Sathonay) and he became the curator of the cabinet and of the Botanical Garden. In 1798, the Imbert-Colomès cabinet, inherited from the naturalist Soubry, was attached to the cabinet of the Ecole Centrale: the latter was abolished in 1803. The same year, the cabinet of La Tourette, perpetual secretary of the Academy of Lyon, joins the existing cabinet: it includes many petrifications and minerals, earths, stones and shells.
In 1808, the practice was transferred from the Palais Saint-Pierre to the Convent of the Desert, next to the Botanical Garden. On the death of Gilibert in 1814, the firm is left unattended and suffers again very large losses: the cabinet of curiosities of the XVII th century enriched the XVIII th century, only medals and books have survived somehow. In 1816, Jacques Philippe Mouton-Fontenille became director of the Lyon natural history cabinet and of the botanical garden and sold part of its collections to the City of Lyon. Between 1818 and 1826, the office was again transferred to the Palais Saint-Pierre where collections were destroyed because they were poorly preserved. Under the leadership of Mayor Gabriel Prunelle, work was carried out to fit out a new zoology gallery, inaugurated in 1837. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, visiting Lyon in 1827, organized the transfer of many collections from the national museum of natural history in Paris to that of Lyon.
Taking advantage of the rise of naturalists in the early XIX th century, the firm becomes a museum and knows between 1830 and 1909 a considerable development of its collections under the direction of Claude Jourdan (1832-1869) and Louis Lortet (1870 -1909), professor at the School of Medicine, professor at the Faculty of Sciences and dean of the Faculty of Medicine. The museum’s excavation activities and scientific publications contribute to its fame far beyond Lyon. Thanks to Louis Lortet and the deputy director Ernest Chantre, the museum is enriched in particular with archaeological, ethnographic and anthropological collections and a remarkable set of animal mummies.
This period is also that of the missionary spirit, at the origin of collections which will later join that of the museum.
The Guimet museum in Lyon
In parallel, the industrialist Émile Guimet carried out a mission in the East in 1876 during which he gathered collections on religions in India, China and Japan. On his return in 1879, he created in Lyon a museum of Asian religions, enriched with a library and specialized teaching in languages. The building constructed by Jules Chatron is located at 28, boulevard des Belges (then boulevard du Nord), opposite Parc de la Tête d’Or.
The public and scientists alike are unfortunately not there: the geographic remoteness of the museum in what is then a whole new district contributes in part, while the history of Asian religions struggles to interest the local scientific community. This low attendance at the museum led Émile Guimet to put the building up for sale and in 1883 to transfer his collections to Paris in the current National Museum of Asian Arts – Guimet. The Lyon building, managed by individuals and then by the Société frigorifique de Lyon, underwent major transformations: it now offers a restaurant-brasserie, sports and music rooms, a theater and even a large ice rink. in what is now called the Ice Palace (1901-1909).
The Guimet building, a place for 4 museums
In 1909, the city of Lyon bought the building to transfer the collections of the natural history museum there, which since the years 1820-1830 have hardly coexisted with those of the Beaux-Arts in the Palais Saint-Pierre, the current museum of fine art. -Arts de Lyon place des Terreaux. The old skating rink is transformed by Tony Blein into a large hall with galleries upstairs to accommodate large skeletons, stuffed mammals, all other specimens, archeology and Egyptology.
At the same time, the mayor of Lyon Édouard Herriot convinced Émile Guimet to revive the Guimet museum in Lyon by depositing nearly 3,000 objects from the Guimet museum in Paris: Emile Guimet accepted and enriched this deposit by donating hundreds of objects from his personal collections. He also took charge of the second Guimet museum in Lyon until his death in 1918. The establishment was inaugurated on May 25, 1913, then it seems again on June 14, 1914 with the natural history museum of Lyon.
A 3 e institution soon coexist in the same building with the existing two: in 1922 has indeed created the Museum of Country Overseas and French, which brings together objects and furniture exposed to the Marseilles Colonial National Exhibition this same year. This new museum was inaugurated in 1927 under the name of Colonial Museum, with disparate collections that enrich Lyon’s heritage.
An ephemeral museum of the resistance finally saw the light of day on May 8, 1967 in a room lent by the museum: it is the outline of a collection founded by former resistance fighters following the 20 th anniversary of the Liberation. Composed mainly of photographs, it is the outline of what will become on October 15, 1992 the Center d’Histoire de la Resistance et de la Deportation (CHRD) in Lyon, located avenue Berthelot in the former center of the Gestapo.
In 1968, when their curator Benoît Fayolle left, the Guimet museum and the colonial museum closed to the public. Following an appraisal, the collections of the Guimet museum are shared between the Gallo-Roman museum, the Fine Arts museum and the museum. The Guimet collections which remain in the museum merged in 1978 with those of natural sciences, and the museum then took the name of the Guimet Museum of Natural History (1978-1991).
In 1979, the Pontifical Missionary Works deposited in the Natural History Museum of Lyon the collections of the Work for the Propagation of the Faith, founded in 1822 by Pauline Jaricot. Missionary activities in fact led the fathers to bring together ancient and exceptional collections from America, Africa, the Near East, Asia and Oceania.
From the museum to the Musée des Confluences
In 1991, the operation of the museum was entrusted to the Rhône department and the institution took the name of the natural history museum of Lyon. Under the direction of Louis David(1963-1999), activities intensified considerably: numerous excavation campaigns were carried out, which contributed to the museum’s research and reputation throughout the world. Scientific publications report on the many activities and generate many exchanges. The building is gradually refurbished: the large room, badly damaged by the hailstorm in 1955 which had caused the museum to close for 7 years, has been renovated several times (1967, 1995), with a more airy scenography. New spaces were proposed and inaugurated, such as the nature protection gallery in 1970, the Egyptology section in 1977, the regional gallery renovated in 1979 or the section on the world of insects in 1991. A real cultural program is also implemented:
From the 1990s, Louis David and the Rhône department have planned to develop the museum: the reserves can no longer accommodate new collections, the conservation conditions are not always satisfactory, the researchers do not have a dedicated place and the configuration of the premises does not allow the permanent route and the temporary exhibitions to be completely redesigned. From these observations is born the redefinition of the cultural and scientific project of the institution.
This is the role entrusted to Michel Côté, director of the museum between December 1999 and May 2010. From 2001 to 2003, three parallel projects coexisted within the sciences and societies pole of the Rhône department: the museum of world cultures was to present the ethnology collections in the renovated Guimet building, while the Musée des Confluences would be dedicated to natural science and science and technology collections in the new Confluent building; Lacroix-Laval Park would provide a place to explore the links between art and nature. For reasons of cost and strategy, the two projects merge to found the Musée des Confluences, which makes it possible to deepen the dialogue between the collections around themes (the origins of the Universe, human-animal relations, in society,
The location of the future museum is the subject of discussions, ultimately leading to the choice of the Pointe du Confluent, as part of the future renovation of the whole of the south of the Peninsula. In 2001, an international architectural competition put in competition 7 teams: the jury composed of 18 people chose the Austrian agency Coop Himmel (b) lau. The project is led by the Rhône department and the president of the Rhône general council, Michel Mercier.
The cloud and crystal framework by Blaise AdilonIn 2002, the Center for the Conservation and Study of Collections (CCEC) received natural science collections in excellent conservation conditions, and finally offered researchers a high-quality welcome. The same year, the great room was closed to the public and in July 2007, the Guimet building closed as a whole to better prepare the restoration and the presentation of the 3,600 objects selected for the permanent exhibitions of the Musée des Confluences. It is also a question of preparing the relocation of the humanities collections and of continuing to write the permanent exhibitions.
At the same time, Michel Côté is launching an ambitious acquisition policy to better respond to the themes addressed: Aboriginal and Inuit collections join the museum, as well as scientific and technical objects. The museum also receives donations from private collectors, notably in entomology and extra-European ethnography. Exhibitions “outside the walls” and traveling exhibitions regularly report on the museum’s activities during this period of closure: Bizarre ces Animaux and Un objet, un livre roam the department, while Observer presents, for example, the sciences and techniques at the CCI de Lyon in 2010. The museum unveils its reserves, presented in 2010-2011 at theGallo-Roman Museum of Fourvière, is the last prefiguration exhibition which gives a glimpse of what we will see at the Musée des Confluences.
When he left for the Musée de la civilization du Québec in 2010, Michel Côté was replaced by Bruno Jacomy (2010-2011) then by Hélène Lafont-Couturier, director of the Gallo-Roman museums and the Musée des Confluences (09 / 2011-03 / 2012) then director of the only Musée des Confluences. The primary objective is then to continue all the operations undertaken in order to open the Musée des Confluences at the end of 2014. This period also corresponds to institutional and territorial upheavals: the museum becomes a public establishment for cultural cooperation (EPCC-IC) 1 st July 2014 and spent the Rhône department in the city of Lyon on 1 st January 2015.
It remains to write the history of the museum at the end of an exceptional period of closure and works: this involves in particular resuming a policy of enriching the collections, in conjunction with the scientific committee and the board of directors. of the public establishment, but also with the metropolis of Lyon and the DRAC Rhône-Alpes.
The Center for the Conservation and Study of Collections
Today, the Musée des Confluences are two complementary places: the new Confluent building, including the exhibition rooms and all the equipment accessible to the public, and the Center for the conservation and study of collections (CCEC) located in 7 th arrondissement of Lyon.
The CCEC, a first step for the Musée des Confluences
In 1991, when the management of the Lyon natural history museum moved from the City of Lyon to the Rhône department, the director Louis David alerted the authorities to the existing conservation conditions: the increase in collections due to the museum’s influence. has almost saturated existing reserves. Some of them, particularly in the basement of the building, have high humidity levels leading to the formation of mold. The glass roof of the great hall already suffered a hailstorm in 1955, which caused the museum to be closed for 7 years: it remains a point of weakness. Finally, the unreasonable configuration of the premises makes it difficult to welcome researchers and therefore to study the collections.
The Musée des Confluences project, initiated in 2000, therefore included from the outset the need for a new location to overcome these difficulties: it was the CCEC, located in a former telephone exchange from the 1930s which was then used as technical premises for department services. A deliberately discreet building, it is however distinguished by its roof made of the hull of an overturned boat, quite rare in the Lyon landscape. Until the end of 2014, it shares the premises with part of the Lyon 3 university library, which since the fire in the quays building in 1999, welcomes students on the first two floors.
Its development, managed by Gilles Pacaud, concerns the floors from level 2 to level 5, plus a garage on the ground floor and a small storage room on the 1st floor: the total surface area reaches 3215 m², half of which is for storage. As the available surfaces do not allow all of the collections to be stored in storage, only the natural sciences moved in 2002 and took place in the new building. The programming of the second phase, which should make it possible to accommodate other collections (large pieces of ethnology, archeology, Egyptology, sciences and techniques) in the first 2 levels released by the library, has just been taken over by the Metropolis. of Lyon as part of the multi-year investment program (PPI) for the period 2015-2020.
Since its inauguration in 2002, the Center for the Conservation and Study of Collections has established itself as a model facility, whose dual vocation is to preserve and disseminate knowledge. Three main conditions guided its implementation: compliance with international standards for preventive conservation; the concern to create a real working tool for French and foreign researchers as well as for exhibition designers; compliance with health and safety rules for goods and people.
The dual vocation of conservation and research of the CCEC resulted, in the building development program, by a topographical organization of the premises clearly identified according to their use. Thus the 2 th floor is it devoted to offices and to the lives of personnel, hospitality initial research and documentation. The three upper levels are vested in the conservation and study of the collections according to their theme: the 3 th floor is assigned to entomology, the shells and stuffed birds, on 4 th naturalized mammals to osteology and alcohol collections, the 5 thfinally in paleontology, in mineralogy-petrology and a part of sciences and techniques. Each of these platforms has been partitioned to meet different climatic, functional and safety constraints.
For each area, the space is distributed according to three functions:
Conservation itself, with storage rooms fitted out with compact furniture, adapted to the quantity of material to be kept;
Consultation of specimens and samples in adjoining rooms and communicating with the reserves themselves;
Preparation workshops, separate from the reserves and assigned to the various physical or chemical treatments to be carried out on the equipment.
The CCEC also houses a quarantine and disinfestation room: objects entering or returning on loan as well as new acquisitions sensitive to biological attacks do not in fact directly reach the reserves, where they risk contaminating other collections. In order to limit the risks due to the handling of chemicals, the preventive or curative treatment of the collections is carried out by cold, using freezers and a large capacity cold room: this treatment makes it possible to eradicate insects, larvae and eggs of harmful species.
It is also possible to carry out small restorations and castings in a well-equipped and efficient workshop. The casts respond to several needs: send a faithful reproduction to a researcher who cannot come on site, perform a security duplicate of certain unique pieces, and finally allow replicas to be touched during mediation workshops or visits.
The CCEC does not offer openings to the general public or systematic guided tours, but it is not inaccessible for all that: reception is on request from Monday to Friday, depending on the availability of each. For obvious security reasons, access to the reserves is only allowed to conservation staff and accompanied researchers.