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National Museum of Natural History

Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle

Earth, Nature and Humans

At the crossroads of the Earth, life and human sciences, the National Museum of Natural History (Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle) has devoted its resources to the study of nature for close to 400 years. Its central objective is to discover, understand, expose and help to preserve the Earth’s natural and cultural diversity and the relationship between Human and nature. The Museum’s vocation is also to transmit naturalist knowledge to audiences of all kinds and at every level through a range of educational and entertaining activities.

Five missions

  • The Museum has five main founding objectives which govern and nourish all of its activities in natural and human sciences: Manage and enrich its exceptional collections
  • Conduct fundamental and applied research
  • Provide multidisciplinary education
  • Offer recognized expertise
  • Ensure the dissemination of knowledge needed to protect biodiversity and our natural heritage.

History and organization

The Royal Garden for medical plants was first created in 1635 under the reign of Louis XIII. Then in 1793, Buffon turned the Jardin du Roi into both a museum and an institution of research and higher education focused on its collections: today’s Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle. The Jardin des Plantes in Paris is the Museum’s main site, comprising botanical gardens, exhibition galleries, laboratories and menagerie. Other central sites are Paris Zoological Park, the Museum of Mankind, and nine other sites in France.

International exchanges and partnerships

The Museum holds an essential and original position amongst the organizations which contribute to the protection of our planet. In a time of concern about the present biological diversity extinction crisis, it takes part —nationally and internationally— in the sustainable management of biological diversity. It cooperates with international, governmental or nongovernmental organizations for the definition and implementation of conservation programs.

At a Glance

  • 350 students (Master’s and PhD)
  • 3,000 school teachers trained
  • 68 million natural history specimens
  • 106 collections with 800,000 types of specimens and 2,5 million documents
  • 8 million visitors at 12 locations in France
  • 2,000 employees
  • 450 researchers