Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

Av. St-Martin, Monaco
Monaco, Monaco
Email: musee@oceano.mc
Phone: + 377 93 15 36 00
Website: https://musee.oceano.org/en/
closed on: open all days, except 25 December
Museum Type: Natural history
Oceanographic Museum & aquarium Monaco

Opened to the public in 1910, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is one of the oldest and most visited museums of marine science in Europe.

The museum was founded by Prince Albert I as “a Palace entirely dedicated to Art and Science” and accommodated in a new monumental building, designed by French architect Paul Delefortrie, overlooking the Mediterranean sea. Until 1988, the museum was directed by world-renowned scientist and explorer Jacques Cousteau.

On a gross floor area of over 6,000 square meters / 65,000 square feet, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco comprises two main sections: an array of aquariums and a large permanent exhibition of Natural History.

The aquariums
Inaugurated in 1903, before the official opening of the museum, the aquarium of Monaco comprises now about 100 pools containing thousands of live marine creatures, from both the Mediterranean and tropical seas, including sharks, jellyfish, giant crustaceans, corals, seahorses, Posidonia beds, venomous tropical fish, sea turtles, and much more.
The aquariums are particularly aimed at kids, with educational classes and special activities; for example, children can touch fifteen different species of creatures in a special pool.
The museum also maintains a “nursery” where marine creatures for the aquariums reproduce and are grown.

Galleries of Natural History
The permanent exhibition of Natural History and marine sciences of the museum presents specimens, skeletons, real-size reproductions of animals, photographs, ship models, and documents, many of which were collected by the museum’s founder, Prince Albert I who was an explorer and navigator, throughout twenty-eight exploration campaigns he conducted between 1885 and 1915.

The museum exhibition includes an installation by artist Mark Dion, entitled Oceanomania, a 10-meter high “cabinet of curiosities” with unconventional, rare, or mysterious objects from the museum’s collections, such as stuffed animals, shells, old scientific instruments, fossils, and old books.

The museum organizes temporary exhibitions, educational activities, guided tours, and special events, and regularly commissions site-specific artworks to renowned contemporary artists, such as Damien Hirst and Marc Quinn.

The building of the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco also accommodates a panoramic restaurant and a shop.

Photos: cover by Philip Haslett (CC BY 2.0); 1 by Nat Lockwood (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0); 2 by Alexandre Delbos (CC BY 2.0); 3 by Cyril Bèle (CC BY 2.0); 4 by Andreza Keiko Mori (CC BY-NC 2.0); 5 by Vladimir Varfolomeev (CC BY-NC 2.0). 

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