The Friends Room
Archaeological Museum of Chania
From Wednesday 20 October 2021 to Monday 7 February 2022
A journey through Antiquity in 13 objects
The Mucem honours its network of museums and partner institutions. The end of 2021 will see the inauguration of a new feature, the "Friends Room" [Chambre d'amis]. Created on the temporary exhibition floor of the J4 building (level 2), this new space is dedicated to the presentation of a selection of works from the collections of the museums that are partners of the Mucem, both French and foreign.
The first guest of the Mucem is the new Archaeological Museum of Chania, Crete. The Archaeological Museum, located in the Chalepa district, will open its doors in December 2021, at the same time as a selection of its very rich collection of archaeological objects will be presented at the Mucem.
For the first edition of this new series, the Archaeological Museum of Chania has generously lent 13 pieces from its collections for a journey through the ancient Cretan period, from the middle of the second millennium BC (end of the Minoan period) to the first centuries of our era. The question of representation – human, animal and divine – has guided the choice of objects. Some of the great figures of Greek mythology (such as Nike, Artemis, Eros and Aphrodite) and more particularly of Cretan mythology (such as the Minotaur) are recognisable. The works chosen also allow us to approach certain features of ancient Cretan civilisation (beliefs and ritual practices in particular) and to present a variety of object typologies, supports, materials and techniques, revealing the richness and inventiveness of the ancient Cretan repertoire.
In addition to this presentation, the Archaeological Museum of Chania and the Mucem are working on another project – the presentation at the Museum of Chania of an exhibition co-designed with the Mucem on the practices and representations of bathing in the Mediterranean: "Swim time!" [Aux bain!] will be presented from 20 May to 5 September 2022.
Eleni Papadopoulou, archaeologist, director of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Chania, Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports
Émilie Girard, head custodian for heritage, scientific and collections director of the Mucem
This project benefits from the support of the Crete Region.
An event organized within the framework of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union
Interview with Émilie Girard, curator of the exhibition
The Mucem is opening its "Friends Room" from the autumn of 2021. Can you tell us about this new feature?
Émilie Girard (Em.G.)
The Friends Room is a new space dedicated to the presentation of collections. It is located on the 2nd floor of the J4 building, in the space formerly occupied at the small bookshop by the exit of the exhibition, which we have completely redesigned for this project. From October onwards, we will be presenting the collections of museums and institutions that are partners of the Mucem. This Friends Room is dedicated to them, they have carte blanche to showcase their collections by presenting objects and works of their choice.
Since its opening, the Mucem has established several types of links with museums in France, Europe and the Mediterranean. These range from simply borrowing an object for an exhibition to the co-construction of a research or exhibition project. It is this network formed by the Mucem with its partners that we wanted to make visible to the general public, because it is also part of the museum's activity, even though it often takes place behind the scenes.
For the first exhibition, the Friends Room takes us to Crete and the Archaeological Museum of Chania...
Firstly, it is an opportunity stemming from timing given that the Museum of Chania will be opening its doors in December, that is to say, around the same time as the Friends Room will be inaugurated. But beyond this nod, this invitation completes the partnership we have established with this museum around an exhibition dedicated to the culture of bathing in the Mediterranean – a travelling exhibition devised by its two curators, Camille Faucourt and Florence Hudowicz, which the Mucem has already presented in Baden Baden in Germany and which will open in Chania in 2022.
For the Friends Room, the Museum of Chania has loaned thirteen truly exceptional pieces – the oldest is 4,500 years old! They give an idea of the richness of the collection of this archaeological museum, which covers all the periods of Antiquity. This clearly shows the interest of this type of project, for the public of course, but also with regard to the collections of the Mucem, because this Cretan ensemble gives an undeniable historical depth to the museum's purpose.
To whom will the next invitations be addressed in the context of this Friends Room?
Nothing has been decided yet, but we have some ideas, such as working with the Musée national de la Marine, which is due to reopen in 2022 after its renovation. We are also working on possibilities with other museums located in the Mediterranean, and we would like to invite the Palestinian Museum or the Vatican museums, for example.
Interview d’Emilie Girard, conservatrice en chef du patrimoine et directrice scientifique et des collections du Mucem
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