As if Paris didn’t have enough going for it, one of the City of Light's prodigal sons is returning to the fold.
The newly renovated Museum of Mankind (Musée de l’Homme) will open its doors this Sunday offering visitors an insight into the long and often mysterious history of mankind.
On Thursday President François Hollande visited the museum for the official inauguration along with French Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.
One of the centrepieces is the celebrated Venus of Lespugue, a 25,000-year-old mammoth ivory statuette from France’s southwest, while another fascinating exhibit includes 80 real-life models of humans from across the globe.
Critically, the museum with stunning views of the Eiffel Tower will also play host to 150 researchers working on everything from biology to philosophy.
It’s a stunning turnaround for an institution that had a near-death experience.
In 2009, Former French President Jacques Chirac ransacked the museum’s collection, moving some 300,000 to the Quai Branly museum of arts and civilisations.
Meanwhile, many of the other exhibits went to MuCEM, the shiny new museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations in Marseille.
The stripping of the collections saw many ask whether it was time to close the doors of the Museum of Mankind one last time.
Now, however, directors are hoping the research aspect of the Museum of Mankind and its new focus on humanity’s place in the universe will breathe new life into the institution.
(All photos: AFP)