History of the museum

From the birth of the museum's collections, to the creation of museums in Paris, Brest, Port-Louis, Rochefort, Toulon.

Portrait of Henri Louis Duhamel of Monceau (1700-1782) - © National Museum of the Navy / S. Dondain

The birth of the museum

In 1748, the encyclopedist and inspector general of the Navy, Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau, who gathered the largest collection of models of ships and port machines of his time, offered it to King Louis XV. This gift is accompanied by conditions: the collection will be installed in the Louvre and will be used for the instruction of the students of the school of engineers of the Navy that he manages.

Museum of Marine, in "Paris illustrated" 1878 - © National Museum of the Navy / S. Dondain

Installed in 1752 on the first floor of the old Louvre near the Academy of Sciences hall, the collection takes the name of "Marine Room" to serve students' practical work. It is also open to lovers of technical objects or beautiful objects, like a cabinet of curiosities.

In estimating his collection more useful to the Nation than to himself, Duhamel du Monceau establishes the cultural and institutional bases of a true national maritime museum.

Paris - History Museum

Located between the Louvre and 1748 1938, the museum has been housed in a historic building, the Palais de Chaillot.

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Brest - History Museum

How the ancient Gallo-Roman Castellum became a walled city before ducal castle?

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Port Louis - History of the museum

The Citadel is an imposing building, marked by the events of Breton history of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

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Rochefort - History Museum

Housed in a mansion of the seventeenth century, the Hotel de Cheusses, named after the last lord of the manor of Rochefort.

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Rochefort - History of Naval medical school

Founded in 1722, is the first naval school of surgery in the world.

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Toulon - History Museum

The museum traces the history of Toulon's arsenal, from Louis XIV to become the largest military port in the Mediterranean basin

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