Missions of the MuCEM

As was mentioned at the award ceremony for the Council of Europe Museum Prize, the MuCEM is a “contemporary agora”. And its cultural policy has been built up to breathe life into this contemporary agora. That policy is designed to fulfil a number of missions:


To conserve, restore, study and promote the collections inherited from the National Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions (MNATP), the “Europe” section of the Museum of Man (on deposit from the National Museum of Natural History), and acquisitions made since 2002 relating to the Mediterranean Basin. The tool that is the Centre for Conservation and Resources (CCR) makes it possible to fulfil all those missions. Today, the policy of enriching the museum’s collections continues by means of purchases and collection surveys. Those new acquisitions which focus more on the Mediterranean Area are made with an eye to consistency with the themes of the old collection from the MNATP.


To make the collections accessible to the largest possible audience through major exhibitions. The MuCEM’s collections can indeed be seen in the semi-permanent exhibition, the Gallery of the Mediterranean, and also punctuate all the temporary exhibitions: through the societal themes and current affairs that they address, or through the artists that they examine, these exhibitions provide a new look at the collections. Lastly, they can also be accessed online on the museum’s website.


To design and implement education and distribution actions that aim to ensure equal access to culture for all: the establishment contributes to the national project for artistic and cultural education by developing special services for young visitors (school groups, families and university students).

In addition, a series of offerings for audiences that are “removed” from culture are made in advance of new exhibitions at the MuCEM. Generally speaking, many mechanisms are in place to ensure maximum accessibility of the museum’s cultural programme.

Moreover, free entry to the discovery walk in the Fort Saint-Jean and the J4 is a fundamental part of the MuCEM’s policy: this free access sets the museum as a continuation of the public space and elicits a variety of visitors that is unheard-of for a museum.


To contribute to the advancement of knowledge and research, as well as their dissemination.

The museum’s research and training policy works in several directions: partnerships with University of Aix-Marseille and other French and international research centres, with French schools abroad, and with the National Heritage Institute.

Lastly, another point of originality in the world of museums: many temporary MuCEM exhibitions present objects acquired during survey campaigns that involve large scientific teams, making it possible to share the research results with the general public.

All these missions underlying the project of the MuCEM are further enhanced by active artistic and cultural programming, in the Germaine Tillion Auditorium and the museum’s outdoor spaces. With its connections to major issues and international subjects that cross-cut European and Mediterranean civilizations, the MuCEM aims to be a cultural centre engaged with the world of today.