Musée du Quai Branly
This impressive building is home to a massive public collection of international
art from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas that recently opened up in the
very heart of Paris.
Located on the Left Bank of the Seine, the museum is only a block away from
the Eiffel Tower and many other important public buildings and museums. Construction
on this building began in 1996 and was completed in 2006, at a cost of over
two hundred million Euros.
The building itself is on the former of the Ministry of Foreign Trade. The
idea was first brought to, then mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac, and adopted
and a national priority when he became president in the mid-1990s. After winning
a contest to design the new museum in 1999, Jean Nouvel began work on the plan
that has become a colourful landmark in the already colourful area.
It has five floors with the public collection on the first. There is also
a special garden wall that was constructed on one side.
The permanent collection of the Quai Branly Museum features over 300,000 items
from all types of indigenous art. The stated goal of the museum is to give the
same treatment to non-western art that more traditional European art forms receive
at other state-owned museums.
This vast new complex is large enough to house very big items, but the layout
is on a single floor, making it easily wheelchair accessible. Instead, it is
separated out into four geographical areas.
Much of the collection comes from the former Musée des Arts Africains et Océaniens
and the Musée de l'Homme that is still open though with some 250,000 fewer items.
The collection of the latter is largely a result of France's Colonial past and
represents colonies on four continents.
Visitors will find all the amenities, such as a bookshop, university library,
workshops as well as guides and tours in several languages.