After thirteen years of closure, including two years of work, the Dobrée Museum should reopen next spring, announced Julie Pellegrin, director of the Grand Patrimoine de Loire-Atlantique, which is leading the new museum project. Located in the heart of Nantes, the Dobrée Museum is made up of the 15th century Jean V manor, the 19th century Dobrée palace and a building named “Voltaire” from the 1970s.
Consolidation and waterproofing work on the foundations and basements was carried out, while the Voltaire building, enlarged, will house administrative premises, artistic workshops, a shop and a café. As an extension, an underground extension allows visitors to pass through. The Palais Dobrée will offer 2,000 m² of permanent exhibition on four levels as well as 500 m² of space for temporary exhibitions.
Inside these buildings, “the wooden or metal joinery is restored or changed identically if necessary, while improving thermal performance and safety. The elements which characterize the museum (stained glass windows, wrought iron grilles) are preserved as far as possible”explains Fabrice Julia, project manager at the Department.
Fruit of the legacy of Thomas Dobrée, industrialist and collector from Nantes, to the Department in 1895, there were 135,000 objects that had to be brought together in a structured and coherent way. Thus, the route follows a chronological order, from the basement to the attic, then thematic rooms. “Objects will be presented for the first time. At the lower level: the archeology of the territory up to the Vikings. On the ground floor: the Middle Ages and goldsmithing, with the cardiotaph of Anne de Bretagne », explains Julie Pellegrin. The visit continues with the history of Nantes up to the modern period, before delving into the world of collectors with the legacy of the Dobrée family: graphic arts, numismatic collections, weapons, etc. The top floor will be devoted to the theme of “elsewhere”: Greece or Etruria, Asia or Oceania.
The renovation of the museum encountered several obstacles which delayed the start of work. In 2012, the Nantes administrative court canceled the building permit, granted in 2011, while a local association opposed the underground extension project. The decision was confirmed by the Nantes Court of Appeal in February 2014. In 2016, the General Council relaunched a project management competition, won in 2017 by a team made up of Atelier Novembre (for the architecture ), Agence Sempervirens (for the landscape) and Studio Adeline Rispal (for the scenography). Once again, the association opposed the work, but its appeal to cancel the 2018 building permit was rejected by the Council of State in a ruling of March 17, 2021. The work was therefore able to start in October 2021 .
Initially estimated at 28 million euros, the health crisis and these delays increased the cost of the renovation to 43 million euros.