Joan of Arc getting her own museum in France

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tags: Museum, Joan of Arc




The Historial Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc History Museum), an ambitious project spearheaded by Métropole Rouen Normandie, is the largest space dedicated to this historical figure of international renown. The city of Rouen has been marked by the memory of Joan of Arc, from iconic sites like the Place du Vieux-Marché where her trial took place, to the Palais Archiépiscopal [archbishop’s palace], where a posthumous trial re-established her innocence. This latter site, made available by the Archbishop and the State, is home to the new museum, due to open in March 2015. Here, visitors can discover the history of Joan of Arc in a spacious museum, spread over five levels, ten exhibition spaces and a surface area of almost 1,000 m2.

A remarkable museum experience - The Historial Jeanne d’Arc examines the history of this well- known figure from a historical and civic perspective: the museum not only traces the story of Joan of Arc, but explores the complex history of this story. The visit is divided into two parts. The first section consists of an immersive multimedia experience that transports the public back to the fifteenth century, to the heart of the judicial enquiry and the historical epic that saw Joan of Arc falsely condemned and subsequently exculpated after her death. The second part of the visit takes in the ‘Mythothèque’ space, where visitors can learn more about the historiographical and political debates that have surrounded the legendary figure of Joan of Arc down through the ages. Innovative multimedia devices present the Joan of the Republic and that of historians, as well as the objects and works she has inspired.

A team of specialists - The project is the result of considerable research, carried out since 2012 by a specialist research committee, bringing together curators, researchers and historians. These include: Philippe Contamine, Member of the Institut and French Medievalist Historian; Michel Winock, University Professor of Contemporary History at the IEP in Paris; Sylvain Amic, Museum Director of the City of Rouen; Olivier Bouzy, Conservation Officer at the Centre Jeanne d’Arc in Orléans; Jean Duramé, former Community Advisor with the CREA in charge of the Historial Jeanne d’Arc ; Jean Maurice, Professor of Medieval Literature at the University of Rouen, Olivier Renaudeau, Curator at the Musée de l’Armée and Monique White, Chief Curator at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. The museographic masterplan was developed by Claude Mollard Consultants (CMC) and the museum layout was designed by the Clémence Farrell Agency.

An important site - With its Romanesque and Gothic crypts and tower dating from the fifteenth century, the archbishop’s residence is an architecturally significant building which boasts a very distinctive medieval identity. The restoration of this building, classified as a historical monument, and the development of the museum, have involved the expertise of numerous tradespeople, working hand in hand on a construction project that lasted almost 18 months. The overall budget, backed by Métropole Rouen Normandie, is 10.6 million euros.

In addition to the exhibition - The Historial Jeanne d’Arc allows visitors to enjoy immersive visual and audio tours, translated into foreign languages through audio guides. Tailored guided visits are also available for school groups and families, and the site is fully accessible to people with reduced mobility. Admission tickets include entry to the history museum but also allow visitors access to the Salle des États and the Chapelle d’Aubigné in the Palais Archiépiscopal. These two spaces date from the eighteenth century and have been recently renovated. Annual attendance of the Historial Jeanne d’Arc is estimated at between 100,000 and 150,000 visitors.




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