Musée de l'Homme

The Musée de l'Homme (French, "Museum of Man" [refers to humankind as a whole, not just men]) is an anthropology museum in Paris, France. It was established in 1937 by Paul Rivet for the 1937 Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne. It is the descendant of the Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro, founded in 1878. The Musée de l'Homme is a research center under the authority of various ministries, and it groups several entities from the CNRS. The Musée de l'Homme is one of the seven departments of the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle. The Musée de l'Homme occupies most of the Passy wing of the Palais de Chaillot in the 16th arrondissement. The vast majority of its collection was transferred to the Quai Branly museum.[1]

Musée de l'Homme
Musée de l'Homme
Musée de l'homme
Inscription above the museum
Musée de l'Homme is located in Paris
Musée de l'Homme
Location within Paris
Location17 Place du Trocadéro, Paris, France
Coordinates48°51′46″N 2°17′19″E / 48.8627°N 2.2886°ECoordinates: 48°51′46″N 2°17′19″E / 48.8627°N 2.2886°E
TypeAnthropology museum
Public transit accessTrocadéro Metro-M.svgParis m 6 jms.svgParis m 9 jms.svg
Muséum national d'histoire naturelle network


The Musée de l'Homme has inherited items from historical collections created as early as the 16th century, from cabinets of curiosities, and the Royal Cabinet. These collections were enriched during the 19th century, and they still are today. The aim is to gather in one site everything which defines the human being: man in his evolution (prehistory), man in his unity and diversity (anthropology), man in his cultural and social expression (ethnology).

The majority of the "ethnographic exhibition" from the Musée de l'Armée of the Invalides, as it was then called, is composed of dummies representing people from the colonies, along with weapons and equipment. This material was transferred to the museum in 1910 and 1917.[2] Photos of the Moroccan population, taken by Clérambault, were also displayed there.

Several members of the Musée de l'Homme, such as Paul Rivet, during the German occupation in World War II, formed a resistance group.


Venus de Lespugue (replica)
Venus of Lespugue (replica), from the Musée de l'Homme

The museum is part of the Musée national d'histoire naturelle. Its original purpose was to gather in a one place all that can define humanity: its evolution, its unity and its variety, and its cultural and social expression.

The creation of the new Musée du quai Branly and MUCEM will be taking the Musée de l'homme's ethnographical collections, breaking with its original mission. This change has aroused many debates because the curatorial choices of the new structure will be dictated more by aesthetic criteria than scientific. The permanent exhibition of the Museum of the Man counted more than 15,000 artifacts, reflecting the artistic but also technical and cultural treasures from five continents. Quai Branly, however, holds only 3500 artifacts, presented without cultural contextualization, chosen for their aesthetic qualities and their "exotic" origins (Africa, Oceania, Americas) and not on educational value. European ethnographical collections are going to be exhibited at MUCEM, and critics believe it is creating an unjustified discontinuity between human cultures.

This situation led the Musée de l'Homme to a redefinition of its mission. Jean-Pierre Mohen and his team tried to arrange the mission of the Museum, without really succeeding in giving it a strong enough muséological program. We shall find in the future Museum, the Human defined through her biological evolution, through its adaptation to its environment, through the elaboration of a culture (by the vector of the communication among others) which defines the highlights of humanity. Finally, it will be question of a conscience of human pressure on its environment as to face the consequences of the evolutions, in the present, for the future.


There was a renovation of the museum until 17 October 2015. The total amount of money appropriated for the renovation process was 52 million Euros.[3]

Notable directors and staff scientists

Notable holdings

See also


  1. ^ See Quai Branly Archived 2007-09-26 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Gilles Aubagnac, "En 1878, les "sauvages" entrent au musée de l'Armée" in Zoos humains. De la Vénus hottentote aux reality shows, Nicolas Bancel, Pascal Blanchard, Gilles Boëtsch, Eric Deroo, Sandrine Lemaire, edition La Découverte (2002), p.349-354 ‹See Tfd›(in French)
  3. ^ Le musée de l'Homme fait sa mue

External links

Anatole Lewitsky

Anatole Lewitsky (22 August 1903 – 23 February 1942) was a French anthropologist and member of the French Resistance in World War II. He was head of the European-Asiatic department at the Musée de l'Homme, and a world authority on Siberian shamanism.

He founded, with Boris Vildé and Yvonne Oddon the resistance group Groupe du musée de l'Homme. He was betrayed, tried and sentenced to death. He was killed by firing squad, together with Léon-Maurice Nordmann, Georges Ithier, Jules Andrieu, René Sénéchal, Pierre Walter and Boris Vildé, on 23 February 1942 at Fort Mont-Valérien. They are buried in the cemetery at Ivry-sur-Seine.

Antelias cave

Antelias Cave was a large cave located 2.5 km (1.6 mi) east of Antelias, 10 km (6.2 mi) northeast of Beirut close to the wadi of Ksar Akil.It was discovered by Heidenborg in 1833. Godefroy Zumoffen made an excavation in 1893, finding an Aurignacian industry amongst large quantities of bones and flints. Henri Fleisch re-examined the material from Zumoffen's excavation and concluded that it was not solely Aurignacian but showed evidence of successive industries present as late as the Neolithic. Raoul Describes also excavated the site and found numerous tools made of bone including two harpoons which are now in the Museum of Lebanese Prehistory. Auguste Bergy also made a small excavation here and another sounding was made possibly in 1948 by J. Ewing who described the industry as "transitional, Upper Paleolithic-to-Mesolithic". Dirk Albert Hooijer studied the fauna from the cave and found Dama and Capra to have been predominant. Neolithic finds included a long, denticulated, lustrous blade. Bones of a human foetus were also found in the cave by Delore in 1901 which were published by Vallois in 1957 as being possibly Neolithic in date. Collections from the cave can be found in the Musée de l'Homme, Paris, Museum of Lebanese Prehistory and the Archaeological Museum of the American University of Beirut.Antelias cave was completely destroyed by dynamite in the spring of 1964 due to quarrying in the area. Lorraine Copeland and Peter J. Wescombe recovered some cave deposits from which they hoped to extract material for radio-carbon dating.

Boris Vildé

Boris Vildé (25 June Old Style/8 July 1908 – 23 February 1942) was a linguist and ethnographer at the Musée de l'Homme, in Paris, France. He specialised in polar civilizations. He was born in St. Petersburg into a family of Eastern Orthodox Russians. His family moved to Tartu, Estonia in 1919. He studied at the University of Tartu, before moving to France.

Vildé was active in the French Resistance during World War II. In July 1940, Vildé together with Paul Rivet created one of the very first resistance groups. During the Resistance he led the scientists and lawyers of the Groupe du musée de l'Homme in producing an anti-Nazi and anti-Vichy newspaper, called Résistance. The group, one of the first Résistance units, was infiltrated by a Vichy supporter and, as a result, most of them were arrested, tried and the men among them sentenced to death. Vildé was killed by firing squad, together with Léon-Maurice Nordmann, Georges Ithier, Jules Andrieu, René Sénéchal, Pierre Walter and Anatole Lewitsky, on 23 February 1942 at Fort Mont-Valérien. They are buried in the cemetery at Ivry-sur-Seine.Boris Vildé last words before being executed by the Nazis were:

“I love France. I love this beautiful country. Yes, I know it can be small-minded, selfish, politically rotten and a victim of its old glory, but with all these faults it remains enormously human and will not sacrifice its stature.”


The C.E.I.P.P., or the Centre (formerly Cercle) d'Etudes sur l'île de Pâques et la Polynésie ("Study Centre (formerly "Circle") on Easter Island and Polynesia") is a geographic and anthropological group created by André Valenta and Michel-Alain Jumeau.

The CEIPP is notable for its members' publications on Easter Island. These include:

Nouveau Regard sur l'île de Pâques, a collective work published by Moana Editions, Saintry-sur-Seine, 1982

Les Mystères Résolus de l'île de Pâques, a collective work published by Editions Step, Évry, 1993. ISBN 2-9508078-0-1

Michel-Alain Jumeau and Yves Pioger's Bibliographie de l'île de Pâques. Publications de la Société des Océanistes, nº46, Musée de l'Homme, Paris, 1997. ISBN 2-85430-004-1.The CEIPP also houses the Thomas Barthel archives of rongorongo, making the data available in digitized format, cross-checking his line drawings of the rongorongo corpus with available photographs and the rubbings he used, and expanding his list of glyphs and his glyph-referencing system.

Deborah Lifchitz

Deborah Lifchitz was a French Jewish expert on Semitic languages of Ethiopia, who worked at the Musée de l'Homme in Paris and took part in the Mission Dakar Djibouti in 1932-3. The Nazis imprisoned her in 1942 and she died in Auschwitz.

Deborah (Desirée) Lifchitz (at times spelled Lifschitz, Lifszyc or Livchitz) was born in Kharkiv, Russia in 1907. In 1919, following the October Revolution, her family left Kharkiv, first to Crimea and from there in 1920 to Warsaw. In 1927 Deborah left Poland for Paris, where she studied Oriental languages and specialized in the Semitic languages of Ethiopia. Upon her graduation she joined the Mission Dakar Djibouti to Africa. There she met with the Beta Israel (Jews of Ethiopia). After her return to Paris, Deborah received a position at the Africa department of the Musée de l'Homme in Paris and in 1935 she was member of Mission du Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadero to French Sudan (Mali). From Mali she brought back two museum pieces of Dogon art currently displayed in the Louvre and the Quai Branly museums.

Deborah Lifchitz wrote one book and several articles, which are still considered milestones in the research of Ethiopian languages.

She received her French nationality in 1937. When the Nazis entered Paris, Deborah stayed in the city, and after losing her jobs because of the racial laws she was taken in by her colleague Michel Leiris. In February 1942 she was arrested by the French police, taken to French concentration camp, and from there to Auschwitz where she died later that year. According to the testimony of Marcel Cohen she was gassed.

During her studies and work at the Musée de l'Homme, Deborah Lifchitz studied and collaborated with the greatest anthropologists and Africanists in Paris of the day, among them Michel Leiris, Wolf Leslau, Marcel Griaule, Marcel Mauss, Marcel Cohen, Paul Boyer, Paul Rivet, Georges Dumézil, Denise Paulme, with whom she wrote many articles, and more.

Groupe du musée de l'Homme

The Groupe du musée de l'Homme (French: Group of the Museum of Man) was a movement in the French resistance to the German occupation during the Second World War.

In July 1940, after the Appeal of 18 June from Charles de Gaulle, a resistance group was created by intellectuals and academics led by Anatole Lewitsky and Boris Vildé, along with Paul Hauet. They were not Gaullists; since they were prisoners of war (Vildé escaped on 5 July and Lewitsky was freed in August), it is highly improbable that they had heard de Gaulle's broadcast. However, once Gaullist propaganda took hold, with its message of escape from dishonour, the group fell in with it. Germaine Tillion said, "I do not remember from what date we started to call ourselves Gaullists: it was not at the beginning at any rate. But we did consider General de Gaulle to be right, or at least to be a man who thought as we did. But we knew nothing about him". They were joined by other groups in September. Raymond Burgard, René Iché, Claude Aveline, Marcel Abraham, Jean Cassou (who launched the newspaper Résistance), René-Yves Creston, Germaine Tillion and her mother, Émilie Tillion, were also part of the network.

To prevent their meetings from attracting the attention of the Germans and the French police, they set up a "literary society", Les amis d'Alain-Fournier (The Friends of Alain-Fournier).

Henri Victor Vallois

Henri Victor Vallois (11 April 1889 – 27 August 1981) was a French anthropologist and paleontologist. He was one of the editor in chief of the Revue d'Anthropologie from 1932 to 1970, and director of the Musée de l'Homme in 1950.

Henriette Alimen

Marie-Henriette Alimen (22 June 1900 – 13 March 1996) was a French paleontologist and geologist. Alimen studied at École Normale Supérieure, later going on to teach at Musée de l'Homme, and serve as president of Société géologique de France. Alimen's career was mainly focused on Quaternary geology in France and Africa while working for Centre national de la recherche scientifique (French National Centre for Scientific Research, or CNRS). She later became a Knight of both the Legion of Honour and the Ordre des Palmes Académiques.

Hugo Zemp

Hugo Zemp (born 14 May 1937, Basle, Switzerland) is a Swiss-French ethnomusicologist. A prolific recorder of ethnic music and a writer on the subject, he has also shot a number of films about music of various regions, including 1988 film Voix de tête, voix de poitrine and 2002 film An African Brass Band filmed by him in Ivory Coast in 2002. His wide musical expertise includes music notably in Africa, Oceania and Switzerland. He also had particular interest in yodeling and lullabies. His recordings of lullabies from Solomon Islands were later released by UNESCO as part of their Musical Sources collection. One famous lullaby he recorded, a traditional Baegu lullaby from the Solomon Islands called "Rorogwela" was sung by Afunakwa, a Northern Malaita old woman. The recording was later used, apparently without permission, in Deep Forest's song "Sweet Lullaby".

Prof. Zemp studied musicology and anthropology at the University of Basle graduating in 1961. He also finished a diploma in percussion at the City of Basel Music Academy (Basel's Conservatory school) in 1960. He attended École pratique des hautes études for his doctorate.

He joined French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) becoming a director of research. He taught ethnomusicology at the University of Paris X-Nanterre. In 1982, he became editor the recording series (Collection du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et du Musée de l'Homme on the Le Chant du Monde record label. In tens of productions by Zemp, it included music from Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ivory Coast, Romania, Solomon Islands and various countries in Central Africa. There were also a number of recordings of yodeling from Switzerland.

Jacques Soustelle

Jacques Soustelle (3 February 1912 – 6 August 1990) was an important and early figure of the Free French Forces, an anthropologist specializing in Pre-Columbian civilizations, and vice-director of the Musée de l'Homme in Paris in 1939. Governor General of Algeria, he helped the rise of De Gaulle to the presidency of the Fifth Republic, but broke with De Gaulle over Algerian independence, joined the OAS is their efforts to overthrow De Gaulle and lived in exile between 1961 and 1968. On returning to France he resumed political and academic activity and was elected to the Académie française in 1983.

Mapa pintado en papel europeo y aforrado en el indiano

The Mapa pintado en papel europeo y aforrado en el indiano (Spanish for "map painted on European paper and lined in the Indian (i.e. amatl)"; abbreviated MPEAI) or Mapa de los linderos de Cuauhtinchan y Totomihuacan ("map of the boundaries of Cuauhtinchan and Totomihuacan") is a Mesoamerican pictorial document, concerning a land dispute between the altepetl of Cuauhtinchan and Totomihuacan. It is currently in the Musée de l'Homme in Paris.

Museum of Man

Museum of Man may refer to:

Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau, Quebec, Canada (formerly the "Museum of Man")

Lowell D. Holmes Museum of Anthropology, of Wichita State University, in Kansas, USA (formerly named the Museum of Man)

Musée de l'Homme (English: "Museum of Man"), Paris, France

San Diego Museum of Man, anthropology and pre-Columbian museum in San Diego, California

Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro

The Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro (Ethnographic Museum of the Trocadéro, also called simply the Musée du Trocadéro) was the first anthropological museum in Paris, founded in 1878. It closed in 1935 when the building that housed it, the Trocadéro Palace, was demolished; its descendant is the Musée de l'Homme, housed in the Palais de Chaillot on the same site, and its French collections formed the nucleus of the Musée National des Arts et Traditions Populaires, also in the Palais de Chaillot. Numerous modern artists visited it and were influenced by its "primitive" art, in particular Picasso during the period when he was working on Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907).

Musée national des Arts et Traditions Populaires (France)

The Musée national des Arts et Traditions Populaires was a museum of the popular arts and traditions of France. It was located at 6, avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, Paris, France, but was permanently closed to the public in 2005. Its collections were transferred to the Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée in Marseilles.

The museum was created in 1937 as the French section of the Trocadéro's Musée de l'Homme. In 1969 it moved to its own building, designed by architect Jean Dubuisson and set beside the Jardin d'Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne. Over the years its initial focus on traditional agricultural France broadened to include contemporary urban culture, with collections of French crafts and peasant civilisation, home furniture, agricultural tools, industrial and artisanal items, photographs and printed materials, and costumes.

Palais de Chaillot

The Palais de Chaillot is a building at the top of the Chaillot hill in the Trocadéro area in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, France.

For the Exposition Internationale of 1937, the old 1878 Palais du Trocadéro was partly demolished and partly rebuilt to create the Palais de Chaillot. It was designed in classicizing "moderne" style by architects Louis-Hippolyte Boileau, Jacques Carlu and Léon Azéma. The Palais consists of two separate wings shaped to form a wide arc, which are those of the former building with new taller portions built in front. The pair of larger central pavilions are also those of the former palais, encapsulated in new construction. The large central hall and towers of the old palais were demolished, leaving only the basement, with a wide esplanade created on top, establishing an open view from the place du Trocadéro to the Eiffel Tower and beyond.

The buildings are decorated with quotations by Paul Valéry, and sculptural groups at the attic level by Raymond Delamarre, Carlo Sarrabezolles and Alfred Bottiau. The eight gilded figures on the terrace of the Rights of Man are attributed to the sculptors Alexandre Descatoire, Marcel Gimond, Jean Paris dit Pryas, Paul Cornet, Lucien Brasseur, Robert Couturier, Paul Niclausse, and Félix-Alexandre Desruelles.The buildings now house a number of museums:

the Musée national de la Marine (naval museum) and the Musée de l'Homme (ethnology) in the southern (Passy) wing,

the Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine, including the Musée national des Monuments Français, in the eastern (Paris) wing, from which one also enters the Théâtre national de Chaillot, a theater below the esplanade.It was on the front terrace of the palace that Adolf Hitler was pictured during his short tour of the city in 1940, with the Eiffel Tower in the background. This became an iconic image of the Second World War. In 1948, the Palais de Chaillot hosted the third United Nations General Assembly, and, in 1951, the sixth General Assembly. It is in the Palais de Chaillot that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. This event is now commemorated by a stone, and the esplanade is known as the esplanade des droits de l'homme ("esplanade of human rights"). The Palais de Chaillot was also the initial headquarters of NATO, while the "Palais de l'OTAN" (now Université Paris Dauphine) was being built.

Paul Rivet

Paul Rivet (7 May 1876, Wasigny, Ardennes – 21 March 1958) was a French ethnologist; he founded the Musée de l'Homme in 1937. In his professional work, Rivet is known for his theory that South America was originally populated in part by migrants who sailed there from Australia and Melanesia. He got married with Mercedes Andrade Chiriboga, a woman born in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Sarah Chatfield

Sarah Chatfield is an English music video director, based in London and Los Angeles. She is represented by UK production company Kode. Her video for Lily Allen's single Alfie, earned her Best New Director and Best Pop video at the CAD awards. Music videos directed by Chatfield include Lykke Li ("Breaking It Up"), Lenka ("Heart Skips a Beat"), Leah LaBelle ("Sexify"), Kelly Rowland ("Motivation") and The Saturdays ("What About Us" & "What Are You Waiting For?").

In 2008, she created a fashion film with fellow Colonel Blimp director Chris Sweeney for Yves Saint Laurent, which replaced their traditional menswear presentation. The team collaborated again with YSL the following year to create seven short film pieces to replace the Spring/Summer catwalk show. The films were displayed on giant screens at the Musée de l'Homme as part of fashion week. She is also currently represented by the LA-based production company Station.

Société des Océanistes

The Société des Océanistes is a French scientific society, founded in 1945, that brings together specialists and interdisciplinary scholars of the cultures and societies of Oceania. It was originally located at the Musée de l'Homme in Paris, but moved to the Musée du quai Branly in 2006. The president for 2013–2015 is Maurice Godelier.

The Society published a journal, the Journal de la Société des Océanistes, with the aid of the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (France) and the Centre national de littérature (Luxembourg).

Venus of Lespugue

The Venus of Lespugue is a Venus figurine, a statuette of a nude female figure of the Gravettian, dated to between 26,000 and 24,000 years ago.


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