Thursday, February 20, 2020

Paris 2020 (1 of 12) -- Musee Curie UPDATED 2.24.20

Open only from Wednesdays - Saturdays, tucked away on the rue Pierre et Marie Curie near the Pantheon, this tribute to the art of science and humanity is the most precious gem of Paris.
The Musee Curie
The Curies represent the best of us. Not just as brilliant scientists, but as loving family members who survived hardship, war, and tragic loss, as well as world-wide acclaim.

The best book to read about the Curies is still “Madame Curie" authored by her younger daughter Eve. Yes, the English version is translated from the original French. But Eve spoke English and was a journalist, so I credit her with the poetic prose that makes this book such a satisfying account of a remarkable life.
I've written about the family and this museum many times. I always visit here. Each time, I see and learn something new. It's great to see the museum thriving. There are modern elements that fit seamlessly into its respect for the original work space that was Marie Curie's last office and laboratory. Admission is FREE, but donations are welcome. Don't miss this inspiring spot.

In the main room/lobby...

a portrait of the family with five Nobel prizes..
 And a touch-screen timeline of their lives!

 View of the main room from the family portrait area...

 A bit about the remarkable Eve Curie (1904-2007)...model, journalist, diplomat, author, classical musician.
 Here is footage of her in 1943 during visit to the US
In this French TV footage, you can see her at the 1995 ceremony where her parents were interred at the Pantheon. Can you even imagine what that must have been like for her to live to see??? Marie was a devoted mother and there is lots of affectionate correspondence between her and both of her daughters. 

More Eve info in these posts:
and here

 Madame Curie's last laboratory...

The invention of Pierre and his brother Jacques that helped make Marie's discoveries possible..

 View into Madame Curie's private office...

These photos displayed in her office show the harsh conditions of the infamous "shed" where she toiled for four years to distill elements and prove radium existed... 
 Exhibits in the main room...
The little book shop always has new titles... mostly in French, but still amazing!  
I missed the 150th birthday exhibition for Marie Curie in 2017-18,

but this new book
is a retrospective that includes many of the rarely seen photos and documents that were featured. There wasn't an official "exhibition catalog" for that event, so this excellent book is as close as one can get to seeing that show. 
some sample interior pages from the book...

Marie and Pierre loved nature. While they did spend hours in the lab, they toured the countryside on bicycles for their honeymoon. Later as a family, they took many long vacations to camp and hike in scenic spots. Marie continued this tradition with her daughters after Pierre's tragic death.  Just outside her laboratory and office, Marie had this private garden that is now open to the public..

This lifesize black and white photo of Marie Curie shows exactly where she stood to admire her garden, and is perfect for modern visitors seeking that "Instagram" moment... 
On a winter day, it was heartwarming to see the sun shining brightly on this monument in the garden. 

The Musee Curie brochure is available in French, English and Spanish versions..

Previous posts here on the blog of my visits to the musee Curie:

This last link to 2015 visit features art project Marty Mouse House, with over 70,000 followers online. Wanted to introduce the Musee and other Paris delights to the online following there. Marty Mouse House is the work of photographer Sarah Hunt. The plush Marty art is by Steph Laberis.

Paris 2020 (2 of 12) -- Grand Gallery of Evolution

Paris is famous for museums and magical places. This is my favorite that is both. The history of the building alone is worthy of a film. The renovations (from 1991-94) not only conserved the classic architecture of the building's interiors, they bring attendees into an immersive experience that anticipated what modern audience want.

A visit here is more than just observing ... you  can participate, document and share the sights and sounds. The overhead lights and sound effects change in the main exhibit hall, making you part of the diorama saving species in the face of epic-scale threats.

 Mural in the lobby of famous scientists/naturalists.

 One room is all about Narwhals!

 This Elephant, "Siam," was a circus star, a film star, and a long-lived resident of the Paris zoo at Vincennes.

 From his perch on the stairway, he overlooks the grand procession of animals across the main floor...

 An often overlooked treasure in this museum is its hall of Extinct and Endangered Animals...

 The dim lighting to protect the fragile specimens adds to the atmosphere of this exhibit space...

 An important antique clock...

 Back to views of the main floor...
 This Rhino lived at Versailles with the last King of France!

 His hide is on display here. His skeleton is on display at the Hall of Comparative Anatomy. He was a very valuable royal asset... and as an important scientific specimen has survived the French Revolution and two World Wars!
 There is a handy cafe at the museum..
 The ceiling lights change color over time.. along with sound effects that evoke a storm and the rainbow afterwards...
 A display on all the art involved with presenting the specimens...

 The lower level is all ocean life!!

(More photos will be added here)