chapter  4
19 Pages

Identity as Self-Discovery: The Ecomuseum in France

WithDominique Poulot

Within the past ten years, museums have taken on striking importance in French cultural life. The openings of Beaubourg, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Grand Louvre, to cite only the most prominent, met with enthusiastic public response. The polemics surrounding these projects, far from marring their effects, only increased public awareness of the issues at stake. Parallel to these events, the past two decades have witnessed a dramatic growth in the number of museums of all kinds-the so-called museological boom of the 1970s and 1980s. During this period, provincial museums succeeded in extricating themselves from a situation that had been worrisome at best, at times catastrophic. The 1970s also witnessed the advent of a radically new phenomenon in the French museological landscape: the ecomuseum.1