1994: the metamorphosis
The Galerie de Zoologie, built by Jules André, was inaugurated at the same time as the Eiffel Tower, and with the same success. It underwent a metamorphosis in 1994 to become the Grande Galerie de l'Évolution, under the guidance of the architects Paul Chemetov and Borja Huidobro, associates of the director René Allio. Since the re-opening, the Museum's zoological collections are presented from a new and dynamic angle, the evolution of life. They form a spectacular ensemble (3,000 specimens exhibited in the nave alone, 7,000 total in the Galerie), installed in a space which is 55 m by 25 m (180 ft by 82 ft) and 30 m (98 ft) high. The 6,000 m2 (65,000 sq. ft) of permanent exhibition space is divided between the central nave, and the upper and intermediate balconies. Complementary exhibitions are presented in the hall of endangered and extinct species, as well as in the hall of discovery.
Emotion and reflection
Blue lighting, mounted fish, the reconstruction of a giant squid: here we are, plunged into the diversity of marine environments! A herd of animals, remarkably well-restored, seem determined to continue ahead in a straight line: this is how the variety of land-living species is illustrated. Move along by their sides, close your eyes and listen for musical sequences, or stop for a moment to watch a film or consult an interactive programme... Everything here recreates the history of the transformation of the species since the origins of life some 4 billion years ago. Everything raises the question: what is Man's responsibility ? What future does the planet have ?
Jacksons' hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus jacksoni, a mounted specimen from the African savannah
[Photo L. Bessol, © MNHN].
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