In Gironde, a future society museum

In Gironde, the town of La Teste-de-Buch (26,000 inhabitants) has been planning the construction of the Pays de Buch and Bassin d’Arcachon Museum for more than twenty years. This municipal project has just been awarded the name “Museum of France” by the State. The future museum joins the 1,223 institutions holding the label.

Dedicated to highlighting the region’s natural heritage, the museum will exhibit some of the 3,349 pieces ranging from the Neolithic period to the 21st century. As the municipality also preserves 15,000 ethnographic and 9,000 archaeological pieces, several of them will also be likely to become part of the museum’s collections.

Nathalie Le Galloudec, the head of the City’s museum collections, recalls that “the objective is not to create a history museum. The goal is to present men in their territory with thematic approaches.” The museum aims to study and present the evolution of human societies in time and space, from the first settlements to today.

To do this, a multidisciplinary approach is favored. The permanent exhibition route will be divided into four sections grouped under the title “A country, of sand, wood and water”. The Country section addresses the transformation of landscapes, the evolution of the coastline and the chronology of the occupation of the territory. That of sand revolves around the notions of “living, living and feeding”, while that of wood focuses on forests and their exploitation by man. Finally, the water section is devoted to shipbuilding, uses of the water body and maritime trade. The museum will notably present a large collection of pinasses – small fishing boats – and a very rare resin boat.

Initially launched by 17 associations, the project consisted of creating an ecomuseum, before the collections were attached to the City in 2001. The Scientific and Cultural Project (PSC) received all validations in 2023. The location of the future museum is planned near the train station and the city’s central port, on the cove facing the Prés Salés Ouest. But for the moment the city has not yet decided between a building to be rehabilitated or a construction, even if this second option seems to be essential. Suffice to say that if the municipality initially envisaged the opening of the site in 2025, no date has been communicated at the moment. Patrick Davet, the mayor of La Teste, estimates the total cost of its construction at 12 million euros.

The “Musée de France” label allows the museum to receive technical assistance from the Ministry of Culture and the consulting architect of the French Museums Service, as well as construction assistance of up to 30 % of overall cost.

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