Back in business: Evolution and history at the new Musée de l’Homme

Engaged translation
By Nathan Schlanger


Re-opened at long last in 2015, the new Musée de l’Homme (Museum of (hu)mankind) calls for a critical visit: the display cases and the colorful scenography prove to be a distracting experience for visitors, but what of the museum’s intended message? The century-long history of the institution is well recorded, but this branch of the National Museum of Natural History is focused first and foremost on the evolution of the species, with its genetic and cultural heritage. The “human nature” celebrated within its walls provides support for a narrative of enterprising individualism, inexorably leading humanity from its African origins to its globalized apex.


  • Musée de l’Homme
  • Musée du quai Branly
  • human nature
  • evolution
  • globalization
  • Paul Rivet
  • Roland Barthes
  • Marcel Mauss
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