How to become enlightened when you are young, fiery and all you want is to hang out with friends or play video games ? You know it’s difficult not wasting your time when your favorite sport is procrastination. Well, you’re in Paris, you’ll surely see that big steel tower but I want to surprise you. If you’re passionated with technologies and you’re able to take one hour of your time instead of drinking coffee at Starbucks while listening some weird music that only three people in the world know – you, the artist and the president of the HipsterNation – I’m your man : I’ll bring you to a museum. Yes, a museum ! It surprised me first, but believe me it’s worth it.
I study at ECE Paris, an engineering school in the fifteenth arrondissement but sometimes we have classes at the CNAM – Conservatoire Nationale des Arts et Métiers – in the third arrondissement. Every Friday I passed in front of that museum, the Musée des Arts et Métiers (literally ‘’Museum of Arts and Profession’’), wondering what was inside that huge building. Actually no, because it was seven in the morning and I was so tired I couldn’t even spell my name, but every time I passed through this museum, I felt that it has a huge and long history.
So let’s talk about history. : the Musée des Arts et Métiers was inaugurated in 1794 and was initially an engineering school. The Museum has kept all of the machines, the drawings that was used in the XIXth and XXth centuries. Since 2003, the Museum has an important role in the conservation and protection of the contemporary scientific heritage. At that point, you can call me Mister Wikipedia so we’ll see what really interest us.
The Museum is organized around four time periods : before 1750, 1750-1850, 1850-1950 and after 1950. The first impression when you enter is : Waouh ! It is really impressive. You really feel the weight of history and it’s really intimidating to be in front of what is the origin of our modern technologies. Yeah there is a lot of ‘really’ but you have to imagine that you see the history in front of you. All the legacy of the famous people who you met in history classes is there, like the plane of Louis Blériot, the first who make the crossing of the Channel. It’s like meeting Zinedine Zidane, or Sangoku, or [put your idol inside]. The thought that all these great people made the things you see in front of your eyes is special. Then you can see the Foucault pendulum, the proof of the Earth rotation or the Ford T, the first car of the People. What I also loved about that museum is that you can watch more modern pieces in the middle of these great invention : an old Renault Formula One or a replica of the Statue de la Liberté next to the Ford T for example. The Museum also offers the possibility of doing activities like building a scientific object.
Sure that’s not all the things you can see and do there but more than the objects, it’s the feelings that I wanted to describe you. Usually, I’m not that kind of person who is overjoyed by going to the museum or learning history but I found it very excited to see the origins of what you learn in school.
The Museum has a permanent exposition but also temporary expositions. The one who took place in 2011 – MuseoGames – was about video games and you could play old games – like very old games. All that to say that everyone can be happy !
For more detailed information, consult the official website : http://www.arts-et-metiers.net/