History of the Musée de l’Homme

When first inaugurated in 1938, the Musée de l’Homme focused on the evolution of humans and their societies, combining biological, societal and cultural approaches in keeping with Paul Rivet’s notion that “Humanity is one and indivisible, not only in terms of space, but also in terms of time.” The new Musée de l’Homme has opened its door in precisely the same spirit.


In 1938, the exhibition spaces of the Musée de l’Homme replaced those of the Musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro with the aim of presenting an overview of the history of human beings from both biological and cultural perspectives, as individuals and as a species.

Paul Rivet’s approach, decidedly modern for a museum, was to be easy, accessible, visual and educational. Labs, classrooms and a library were added, turning it into a laboratory-museum.

Today the Musée de l’Homme carries on the tradition of laboratory-museum, bringing together spaces dedicated to research, collections and the dissemination of knowledge under one roof. The museum design underpins the spirit of the new museum, addressing the broadest possible public in an open space that explores our diversity through three main questions: Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we headed?


History of the Musée de l’Homme