The Bone Room :: Gallery of Comparative Anatomy and Paleontology, Musee d’Histoire Naturelle
The Gallery of Comparative Anatomy and Paleontology, one of the many components of the French Musee d’Histoire Naturelle, is possibly the most beautiful bone show on the planet. It is a long two-storied 19th ccentury building, ribbed in iron and with stair railings wrought to resemble stiff black vegetation. For the rest, it is endless vistas of bare gleaming bone. Prehistoric dinosaur bone. Modern bone. Mammel bone and reptile bone. Head bones, hip bones and tiny tiny foot bones. Bones from mega-fauna and bones from tiny marsupials smaller than a teaspoon. Beautiful bones.
The Jardin des Plantes in Paris offers a comprehensive view of the various fields of natural history - botany (the School of Botany has a collection of over 10,000 plant species), mineralogy (particularly notable are the giant crystals), zoology, ecology and paleontology. It is also a place of work and study for students of the nearby University Paris VII (Jussieu).In the part of the park farthest from the Seine is a low hill with a small maze and a handsome bronze temple - a favorite retreat for romantics both past and present.
The Musee d’Histoire Naturelle was formally founded in 1793 during the French Revolution. It was during the Revolution the people of Paris had their first sight of wild animals when they were transferred from the royal menagerie at Versailles to the English park of the Jardin des Plantes. In 1795 they could wonder at the first elephant, in 1826 at the first giraffe. Napoleon established a bear-pit. The park then acquired its official name, the Musée d'Histoire Naturelle.
Its origins lie, however, at the beginning of the 17th century when Louis XIII's doctors laid out a herb garden here, and this soon grew into a large plant collection, the royal des plantes médicinales (Royal Medicinal Plant Garden) A school of botany and pharmacy was established, and in 1650 the garden was thrown open to the public. The aristocrat and naturalist George-Louis Leclerc de Buffon (1707-88) extended the garden into a park, laid out partly in the English style and partly in rigorously geometric style. The 19th century saw the erection of the iron and glass galleries of paleontology, botany and mineralogy, with greenhouses, an aviary and exhibition buildings (to left of main entrance). The acacia between the galleries of botany and mineralogy, planted in 1636, is believed to be the oldest tree in Paris.
The Museum opens: April to September, Wednesday to Monday - 10:00 to 18:00
October to March, Wednesday to Monday - 10:00 to 17:00
- Natural History Museum>>
- Wikipedia >>
- Giacometti made pictures in the museum -- article >>
- Chris Marker's well-known experimental B&W stills film, 'La Jetée', includes unforgettable scenes in the museum -- Senses of Cinema article >> La Jetee's Script and stills >>
- Post photographs from a-website 2003 >>