The 20th century, the challenge raised by globalisation
As exchanges multiplied between communities worldwide, the concept of races disappeared, giving way to universalism of the human species. Human sciences emerged as technologies and scientific discoveries developed at an ever quickening pace, and the Museum's institutions strove to be as accessible as possible.
1910 Preparing collections – Transferring know-how
Philippe Lacomme, taxidermist for the Museum of Toulouse, perfected a new technique and broke new ground in the way collections were exhibited: making taxidermy more dynamic and paying greater attention to reconstruction… All of which was highly appreciated by the public.
Ever since it opened to the public, the Museum has always given a lot of importance to preparing its collections, which are a major feature of any museum. This careful preparation means that after more than one century, it is still in a position to exhibit top quality objects. The Museum has always been lucky enough to have staff that possess the skills required to prepare stuffed animals, and who are determined to enrich the collections on a daily basis and bring them alive in a contemporary way.
Photo : Philippe Lacomme working on Punch, the elephant
Credits:CC Muséum deToulouse - Augustin Pujol
1922 The South Sea Isles in Toulouse
The South Sea Isle collections of French navigator Gaston de Roquemaurel were transferred to the Museum of Toulouse. They rank among the most important collections in France.
1930 Understanding others
The explorer Henri Labouret discovered one of the major pieces which is now part of the African collection at the Museum of Toulouse: the mask of Nimba, goddess of fertility, made by the Bagas of Guinea. A choice exhibit with which to study African mythology.
1971 A museum for children
Spurred on by its director and head curator Claudine Sudre, the Museum created an educational department and a library for children. Making the museum accessible to as many people as possible was seen as the new priority.
The Museum became the proud owner of Pierre Loti's collection of South Sea Isles objects acquired during his travels, as well as his travel diaries.
The palaeontological site in Montréal-du-Gers was discovered. This palaeontological 'reservoir', property of the City of Toulouse since 1997, ranks among major sites in Europe and is the greatest 'reservoir' to have been discovered in France in a century. Dating back approximately 17 million years, it was excavated and made accessible to the public by the present director and head curator Francis Duranthon.
1997 Time for renovation
The Museum was closed to the public owing to signs of weakness in the building. This led to an ambitious and ground-breaking project both in terms of architecture and museography. A new scientific programme illustrated the complex and fragile nature of the relations between Man, Nature and the Environment.
The Museum of Toulouse is firmly focused on the 21st century and directly engaged in current affairs. It sees itself as a site devoted to the debate, sharing and broadcasting of scientific culture and expression aimed at researchers. This radical reform was actively encouraged by Jean-François Lapeyre, former director of the Museum, and the present teams.
Photo : Virtual project by the architect Jean-Paul Viguier (2000)
Credits : ©Jean-Paul Viguier