The story of Nantes' Natural History Museum begins in 1799.
François René Dubuisson, a grocer from Nantes, passionate about geology, mineralogy, botany, zoology, and ethnology, opened the first natural history exhibition room in Nantes.
Following this initiative in 1810, the city opened a museum to which Dubuisson's collections were transferred, and Dubuisson was appointed curator.
After many years, during which the museum retained its 19th century aspect (lack of space, technical equipment, and light), the arrival of Jacqueline Baudouin-Bodin as manager, in 1954, heralded the beginning of renovations that went on for 20 years.
This museum, renovated and inaugurated in 1980, offers a clear and detailed view of the collections as a whole.
The zoological collection is extremely impressive: 1,600 mammal specimens; 25,000 bird specimens (it is ranked second in France for the number and variety of species); and 387 fish species (including a specimen of coelacanth, which was thought to be extinct for 65 million years and uncovered by a fisherman in Comoros in 1968). Equally impressive: the botanical collection (6,000 wood sections, almost 100,000 herbarium sets, and a great number of seeds and fruits); the mineralogical collection (about 5,000 samples); the geological collection; and the collections of animal and plant palaeontology.
Muséum d'histoires naturelles de Nantes
12, rue Voltaire 44000 Nantes
Telephone: +33 (0) 2 40 99 26 20
Open every day except Tuesday from 10:00am to 6:00pm
Entrance fee: £3.50 (over 18); free for children under 7