Last week we published information about impending changes are numismatic museums in France. Our readers have provided more background information clarifying the situation.
Ted Buttrey of Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England writes:
This is just a misunderstanding. The Bibliotheque Nationale houses two different collections: the Museum, which has antiquities -- pots, gems, etc. -- with its own exhibition room; and the Cabinet de Medailles, the coin collection. It is the Museum that is to be reordered, or perhaps even closed; but the collection of coins, and access to it, will not be touched.
Rick Witschonke writes:
Last week's translated article did seem to make that distinction pretty clearly; while the exhibit gallery will close, the collection itself remains.
1. The museum will no longer exist as such, although the Cabinet of medals remain for the consultation of researchers.
2. The works will be almost entirely retained in reserve.
"The item about the closing of the Coin Cabinet at the Bibliotheque Nationale is incorrect, per Michel Amandry, the Director. Hadrien Rambach confirms that he was just passing on something he had seen. The full story is described here."
Rick included an article by Ursula Kampmann which appeared in CoinsWeekly.com which Rick adds "is a very useful new source of international numismatic news." Here are some excerpts.
Recently, throughout the numismatic world emails were sent that referred to a website spreading the news that the Cabinet des Medailles was in imminent danger of being closed. This information even made it into the political press. In its June 2010 edition the magazine Spiegel reported that the entire academic world mobilized against the announced closure which the Director General Jacqueline Sanson wants to be understood as a "renovation" and a "new presentation".
This is puzzling. What is really behind all this? A simple look at the official website of the Bibliotheque nationale can clarify things.
Anyone who has visited the Parisian Cabinet des Medailles can vouch for the fact that a renovation is long overdue. Plus, after the relocation of a part of the departments the building has many large, empty rooms that are intended to be put to good use again. A total renovation of the old Bibliotheque nationale will be carried out, therefore, that has already started in 2009. Responsible is the architectural office of Bruno Gaudin who is quite experienced in building or renovating big libraries in France.
Michel Amandry, Conservateur general of the Departement des Monnaies, Médailles et Antique, announces that the renovation will consist of two stages of which only the second concerns the Cabinet des medailles. This second phase is likely to commence in 2013/14 and will be finished by 2017. During the renovation the coin cabinet continues to be accessible, albeit with limitations. At present, the academic staff selects from their 600.000 objects those that are most frequently asked for by researchers. While the work is going on, roughly one third of the material will be available.
Hence, the Cabinet des Medailles is about to undergo a change - but it certainly is in no danger of being closed altogether. After all, changes are inevitable if an institution wants to survive the next century.
To read the complete article, see:
Much ado about the Cabinet des Medailles of the Bibliotheque nationale
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
TWO MAJOR FRENCH NUMISMATIC MUSEUMS SET TO CLOSE
Wayne Homren, Editor
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