BEYOND THE HORIZONS
On the banks of the docks in Bordeaux, the Musée Mer Marine advances the silhouette of its bow in a former working-class district on the banks of the Garonne at the heart of the maritime history of this city which was, in the 19th century, one of the largest ports in Europe.
It is called a museum because it houses a wide variety of collections and aims to preserve and transmit this historical heritage. It is also a place of exchange and contemplation in an exceptional set of exhibition rooms, which give pride of place to art from all periods.
Art can be found in the forms of shipbuilding as well as in the imagination and daily life of sailors.
With thousands of marine objects (models and life-size ships, navigation instruments, maps and atlases) and art works, the Musée Mer Marine’s collection covers several millennia of navigation history and evokes the immense epic of the oceans, from geological times to the environmental concerns of the 21st century. With the support of historians, oceanographers and contemporary artists, this heritage has been put to use in an original multidisciplinary narrative, combining the military, scientific, religious, artistic and sporting dynamics that characterise the maritime world.
A modern and uncluttered scenography offers rare and sometimes monumental collection objects as living witnesses to history, as well as art works that convey universal messages about marine heritage protection.
A MUSEUM OF ART AND NAVIGATION HISTORY
GF & 1st Floor
As soon as human beings ventured out to sea, the sea became a vector of their stories. As an exploration ground, it has carried his desire for conquest, his technical challenges and his thirst for knowledge. An object of fantasies and superstitions, it has been populated by divinities and fabulous monsters. As a transport network, it has enabled exchanges between civilisations, trade and the mixing of cultures. As a nurturing mother, it has run out of steam in a large-scale exploitation that today threatens the future of humanity.
Over nearly 5,000 m2 of exhibition space, the Musée Mer Marine relates a universal history of navigation, from prehistory to the present day, recalling the military epics that changed the course of history, the expeditions that served to complete the maps and encyclopaedias, and the technical prowess that enabled the construction of ships that were ever more efficient or more luxurious in their equipment.
The contemporary art of each period, from sculpture to painting, photography and model making, is associated with this narrative. For beyond the great naval battles and technical progress, the human adventure on the sea is a history of art and culture: through the objects that sailors brought back from their voyages, that artists copied, that amateurs accumulated in their cabinets of curiosities; through the decorations displayed on ships of all periods for aesthetic, religious or political reasons; through the reports compiled by the great explorers in atlases, scientific drawings or photographic works; through the crafts developed by sailors from all over the world, who combined a real artistic know-how with their knowledge about navigation and the oceans; through the works inspired by the beauty of the sea, the representations that surround it and the desire to preserve it. These visual and aesthetic witnesses to the mentality and imagination of an era can be found throughout the historical journey of the Musée Mer Marine.
Planet or Plastic?
TEMPORARY EXHIBITION ROOM
« Planet or Plastic ? » tells us the story of plastic since its invention, the problems related to its massive and abusive consumption, but also brings a note of hope by highlighting possible solutions through a powerful and fascinating selection of photographs, infographics and videos.
The exhibition builds on an international initiative by National Geographic that has been running for several years to raise awareness of the crisis to reduce the use of single-use plastics that wash up in the ocean.
Produced in collaboration with National Geographic, the exhibition is presented at the Musée Mer Marine from 8 June 2022.
A MUSEUM OF OCEAN DISCOVERY
Discovering the world from the ocean!
This last part of the permanent exhibition is based on a systematic confrontation between art and science. The visitor discovers the evolution of the oceans from their formation to the present day, and is led to place his/her own existence in the massive history of the marine world, its flora and fauna, nowadays threatened by human activity.
Between extinct species and species threatened with extinction, the visitor discovers the beauty and fragility of the marine ecosystem, and is also offered solutions for its preservation. The works of contemporary artists who are sensitive to the cause of the oceans enliven this oceanographic journey and offer an immediate reading that complements the scientific discourse.
100 MILLION YEARS UNDER THE SEA
For its new opening, the Museum inaugurates a new temporary space “100 million years under the sea”, which takes you on a journey of discovery of the fossils of Lebanon.
Lebanon has the most diverse fossil deposits in the world. Preserved in the rock through the ages, they appear to us today in the form of amazing “stone fish”.
This rich collection of fossils from Lebanon, from the private collections of Pierre Anhoury and the Abi-Saad family, shows a great diversity of species that lived 100,000 years ago.