A planned Museum of the Orient in Strasbourg

A Museum of the Orient in the Grand Est, what could be more logical? The Strasbourg University Library, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, brought together a scientific committee this summer to study the contours of this project, which has been close to its heart for half a century. It had indeed almost seen the light of day in the 1970s but had been abandoned for lack of a place to welcome it.

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Determined to see it succeed, the team at the Strasbourg BU, the second largest library in France behind the BNF, with 3.5 million documents, has decided to make room for it within its walls. Validated in May by the board of directors, this museum of oriental civilizations should occupy between 500 and 600 m2 of the large central building (19,000 m2). This is the cheapest solution, although a feasibility study is underway to confirm this location.

It has already received support from the Louvre, which has been making deposits from its department of oriental antiquities since 2017. In partnership with the Parisian museum, an exhibition entitled The unexpected Orient, from the Rhine to the Indus, devoted to Alsatian history from the angle of relations with the East and more precisely the lands of Islam, is due to open on September 18.

A museum in search of patrons

The Strasbourg BU also keeps many oriental pieces, including one of the most important French collections of Egyptian papyri. Works from other Strasbourg museums and research institutes could also be exhibited in this future museum, which will cover a very wide historical period.

« I imagine that we will go from Egypt and ancient Phenicia to Persia … Let’s say from the shores of the eastern Mediterranean to the Indus, perhaps favoring the Near East, over a time range going from VIe millennium BC to the Ottomans », Declares to Latest news from Alsace Emmanuel Marine, responsible for cultural action at the library.

The cost of this museum has yet to be determined, but the director of the library, Alain Colas, told the DNAconsider the creation of a foundation with an initial investment of € 500,000. The museum is therefore looking for generous patrons to help it see the light of day in 2025.

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