During a week (from 12-15 march 2019), students of the master’s degree in Heritage of the University of Girona have received a very interesting museologist of the Natural History Museum of Paris, the Dr. Fabienne Galangau-Quérat.
Her expertise is the scenography of nature at the museums, the reinterpretation of the museum concept and to understand the place of the museum as a communication medium associated with heritage processes in specific cultural and social contexts and nested from local to national. She analyses how, as a cultural part of the "Western heritage", the museum concept can be modelled or even transformed by studying the classically assigned functions of the museum: selection, conservation, valorisation and interpretation.
She has been the project leader of the Great Gallery of Evolution (MNHN) and of numerous both permanent and temporal exhibitions at the Museum. She has worked in other Museums in France, like the Marinarium of Concarneau (MNHN) or the Ethnographic Museum of Neuchâtel and abroad, such are the Australian Museum (Sydney), National Museum of Namibia, Council for Cultural Affairs (CCA) of Taiwan or the Burmese Ministry of Culture.
Dr. Galangau-Quérat is also a teacher at the Master "Evolution, natural heritage and societies", particularly in the specialty: "Museology, Sciences, Cultures and Societies" and MNHN Doctoral Schools.
She teaches "Museum representations of heritage”, "Exposure", "Training in the museum curator competition, scientific, technical and natural heritage option”, "The trades of the exhibition”, "History of museums", "Representations of biodiversity" and "Museology of Sciences”.
The first day she did a review at the history of natural history museums, to have a better understanding of the complexity that natural history museums are currently facing. While their origin dates back to Antiquity, it was really during the Renaissance with the multiplication of curiosity cabinets that the museum concept was built by gradually combining collection, research and exhibition. Later on, with the emergence of the concept of heritage, they multiplied. In the 20th century, after a period of torpor, the emergence of environmental concerns will push the natural history museum to a metamorphosis that will place the public at the centre of its concerns.
On Wednesday she offered an open conference, entitled: “Natural Sciences Exhibitions as environmental tools with the public at the center”. In fact, all natural history museums express the loss of certainty about the man’s place in nature and reflect the growing interest of all actors in the museum (including visitors) in the question of the relationship between nature and humans. The realization of a natural history exhibition can no longer be interpreted on the simple basis of a three-dimensional transposition of "purely" scientific data. An exhibition, considered as a medium, is therefore a communication tool that organizes a space for visitors (the public), associates objects, encourages a certain type of attitude towards knowledge. Its functioning is based on a spatial, pragmatic and informational functioning.
We devoted the 3rd day, Thursday, to visit a museum situated at the village of Sant Hilari Sacalm, that wants to rethink his entire collection and the museological and museographic project. In the first part was visited the Museum of the Guilleries, a museum built on the accumulation of collections and donations, in the traditional way and very connected with the people of the Villa.
During the second part of the visit, he went to the "AQUA" museum, a small but modern space, located outside the village and completely disconnected.
Finally, on Friday, we discussed with Dr. Galangau-Quérat about which will be the best way to start and how to define the scientific and cultural project which defines the major orientations and the strategies of the museum for the following years, taking into account and putting in coherence all the missions of the museum:
Collections: conservation, restoration, acquisition, management, study, research.
- Public: public knowledge, public policy, reception, cultural and educational activities, museography.
We are very grateful for the time devoted to us by Professor Galangau-Quérat and for her good availability and friendship. There are not too many experts in the field of museology in natural history museums and to enjoy their knowledge has been a privilege.
We hope you come again another day Fabienne! Thank You!