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« "La Nature dans son ensemble se déroulera sous vos yeux": Manifold Protagonists, Changing Spaces and Natural Knowledge in Lyon, 1802-1869

Abstract : The Zoology Gallery of the Lyon Natural History Museum was inaugurated in 1837 with an opening speech of no less than the First Deputy Mayor. This event marked an important turn in the then thirty-year-old institution which thereby became as a valuable municipal one. The museum emerged during negotiation processes by numerous, successive protagonists: the museum and botanical garden staff, members of the local learned societies, faculty of science professors and the political - especially municipal - authorities. The museum display consisted in the exhibition of the entire collection of the museum, in an attempt to deliver an exhaustive and possibly universal image of nature. In a context of ‘museological science’ (Pickstone, 2009), museums built their scientific authority around collections, that is the primary material and instrument of which science was made. In this case, both the users and visitors of the museum were essential - albeit not exclusive - protagonists who contributed to making the museum. They worked together to build a new collection of zoology, or contributed in the discussion of whether to keep the natural history collection at the botanical garden, at the museum itself or to merge it with the Académie’s collections. Whether the uses of the museum were political, educational, or else to support ongoing research, this multifaceted group of people were in constant interaction. In this paper, I will expose how several types of actors influenced the disciplinary and, especially, the spatial organisation of natural history in the museum building itself but also within the very city of Lyon. This case study will investigate the nature of relations between museum protagonists and how they affected the structure of the museum and its progressive consolidation as a central and authoritative place for science.
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Contributor : Deborah Dubald <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - 9:44:40 PM
Last modification on : Friday, April 2, 2021 - 12:00:02 PM


  • HAL Id : halshs-02542775, version 1



Déborah Dubald. « "La Nature dans son ensemble se déroulera sous vos yeux": Manifold Protagonists, Changing Spaces and Natural Knowledge in Lyon, 1802-1869. The Evolution of the Museum, Universal Histories and Universal Museums Programme, Jul 2017, London, United Kingdom. ⟨halshs-02542775⟩



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