The story of mankind

Musée des Confluences

Open since December 20, 2014, the musée des Confluences tells the story of mankind and of the history of life.

The Musée des Confluences aims to explore the human adventure from its origins to the present day, to observe the interconnectedness of life, to examine the formation of societies and to question their relationship with death.

And also to measure the progress of the science and technology that accompanies this adventure, which is particularly relevant in Lyon, with its contributions to medicine, the pharmaceutical automobile and textiles industries and, today, to new, innovative industries.

A project built on interdisciplinarity
Interdisciplinarity constitutes the philosophy of the museum as an affirmation of a difference, of an original point of view. This is a new and stimulating situation with no separation of the disciplines, from the sciences to the humanities.

The musée des Confluences is the heir to the Museum of Lyon, the Guimet Museum of Lyon and also the Colonial Museum of Lyon and thousands of masks, sculptures and objects from everyday life or related to rites and rituals originating from the work of spreading the Faith.

The diversity of the collections
The history of museums is made up of reorganisations and migrations of collections.

A museography oriented towards the narrative.
A place of discovery that addresses amateur as well as informed audiences, the museum opens the doors of the world and enables everyone to see in. The museum wishes to make the complexity of the world accessible to all.

Temporary exhibitions convey the identity of the museum and express the plural character of the institution and its vocation as a place to diffuse knowledge. They deal with subjects selectively, with multiple gazes in a transverse and multi-disciplinary approach.

A remarkable architecture
At the confluence of the Rhône and Saône, the museum is situated at the heart of a monumental structure between the Crystal and the Cloud, conceived by Coop Himmelb(l)au – the only project completed in France by this Austrian agency, worldwide renowned for its architecture of the deconstructivist school.
The Crystal and the Cloud
When glass Crystal met stainless steel Cloud, the architecture of the musée des Confluences was born, inspired by the two converging bodies of water at its feet: the Rhone and Saone.

The Crystal
Beneath its 33 metres of glasswork, the Crystal functions as an urban square: a space devoted to where the general public comes in and to the circulation of visitors, a place of encounter and exchange.

Over an area of 1,900 square metres, bathed in external daylight, the visitors prepare themselves to visit the museum. In its centre, the gravity well whirls as if caught between the two streams of water. An architectural tour de force, the well bears the entirety of the structure.

The Cloud
Each visit constitutes a journey through the Cloud, constructed as a large vessel of approximately 11,000 square metres which, under its stainless steel cover, contains the treasures of the museum: the rooms dedicated to its permanent and temporary exhibits.

The Roof
By accessing the roof, Lyon and the District of the Confluence can be contemplated from an unusual angle.

The Basement
The entire structure is built on a basement that is accessible to the public: a place to stroll around a pool of water shining against stainless steel, arousing curiosity in a landscape of ramps and inclined planes leading to the garden: 24,400 square meters of green spaces and paths to the point where the rivers meet.
In the Cloud
The exhibit rooms are punctuated by exhibition rooms, engulfing black boxes and linking passages which freely traverse the length of the museum and lend it the impression of being transparent: from the basement to the sky, light penetrates all the levels.
The museum at night
Flooded with light during the day, the museum reveals itself as a silhouette at night. It seems to float, carried by the blue light reflected in its pools. The Gravity Well, in the heart of the Crystal, acts like a lantern.
Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions (listed below) who have supplied the content.
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