The Musée du Quai Branly is one of the newest museums, as well as one of the newest buildings in Paris.
The Quai Branly Museum presents indigenous art from the cultures and civilizations of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
The idea and construction of the museum has had the support of President Jacques Chirac since its beginning in 1995.
At a cost of 232.5 million euros, the Musee du Quai Branly opened June 23, 2006. It was designed by architect Jean Nouvel, who also created the Institute du Monde Arabe in 1986.
The collection of over 300,000 objects, 3,500 of which are on permanent display, is taken mostly from the Musée de l'Homme ethnology department (250,000 objects) and the Musée National des Arts dAfrique et dOcéanie (25,000 objects), now closed. Ten special exhibits are planned for each year. At least half of the exhibition space will be taken up by temporary exhibits.
Works from sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar and the Maghreb make this one of the world's largest collections of African art. The museum also has a collection of thousands of musical instruments.
Private donors have contributed greatly to the collection and to the construction of the museum.
The Quai Branly Museum is also a research center. The multi-media library includes monographs, periodical titles and thousands of photographs. Lectures are featured as are music concerts and dance performances, presented in the the Claude Lévi-Strauss Theatre, with a seating capacity of 390, and a cinema room of 100 seats.
The multi-media library has hundreds of reading places in its 4 rooms. There are 25,000 works available with 10 times that in storage, 150 multi-media screens and 20 interactive terminals.
There are many innovative and interesting features to the Quai Branly Museum. In the center of the exhibition space is a glass column, "The Tower of Music", extending from the bottom to the top of the building containing 8,700 musical instruments.
There are five ceiling-paintings by Australian Aboriginal artists located in the bookstore and in the administrative part of the Quai Branly Museum. One exterior wall of the museum is covered with 150 plants, called, "The Green Wall" ("Le Mur Vegetal"), created by Patrick Blanc.
Embedded in the sidewalks that wander through the gardens surrounding the museum are found flowers, insects and shells encased in clear plastic. There is a sunken amphitheater and a restaurant in the garden area.
The building itself is 40,600 square meters large and 4,750 square meters of that is exhibition space. The 210 meter long building rests on supports which hold it 10 meters above the ground. The Musée du Quai Branly sits in the middle of 18,000 square meters of garden. Separating the museum grounds from the quai Branly itself is a 200 meter long and 9 meter high wall of glass.
The garden, designed by Gilles Clement, has pathways winding over small hills and next to ponds has over 100 trees including oaks, maples, magnolias and cherry trees. It's a beautiful area and unique in that the garden continues under the elevated museum structure. There is no admission fee to wander the garden or to visit the bookstore.
The Quai Branly Museum is handicapped accessible and has texts presented in braille.
Quai Branly Museum Hours and Admissions
The Musée du Quai Branly is open every day, except Monday, from 10:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and until 9:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Admission fees for the permanent or the temporary exhibits are 8.50 euros, full fare and 6 euros for students. Those under 18 years of age are admitted free.
Admission fees for both the permanent and temporary exhibits are 13 euros full fare and 9.50 for students.
Admission is free the first Sunday of the month.
Here is a page for other Free Museums in Paris.
For further information, visit the Musée du Quai Branly website.
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