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New Mexico Mineral Symposium — Abstracts

230 Years of History of Collecting at the Mineralogy Museum of L'ecole Des Mines De Paris

Eloise Gaillou

Mines Paris - PSL, PSL Research University, Musée de Minéralogie,, 60 Boulevard Saint-Michel, Paris, 75006, France,

View PDF (1.16 MB) 

Figure 1. “Collectible Minerals”, an exhibition running until March 9, 2024, and tracing back 230 years of collecting at Paris School of Mines.
Figure 2. Some of Dolomieu and Marquis de Drée’s specimens, purchased by the School of Mines in 1845.
Figure 3. A few minerals from the extensive collection of over 1,500 specimens of M. Adam, donated to the Paris School of Mines in 1881.

Created in 1794, the “Cabinet des Mines”, today the Mineralogy Museum of the École des Mines de Paris (Paris School of Mines), is one of the world's leading mineral collections. Its showcases, drawers, and cupboards preserve a multitude of stories of the people involved in their collection. At the occasion of the temporary exhibit “COLLECTIBLE MINERALS” (Figure 1), the museum reveals some of these stories with the associated rocks and archive documents. This lecture will trace back a few adventures: from the confiscation of the Chinese art object collections of Henri Bertin, minister under King Louis XV, to the journey of Prince Napoleon in the northern seas in 1856, from the purchase of Dolomieu’s mineral collection to the donation of Emile Bertrand and Adam’s systematic collections (Figures 2 and 3), and a few more, we will travel to French History and foundation of mineralogy.

The historic collections of the Paris School of Mines continue to be the mirror of our society. It tells stories of great explorations, discoveries, inventions and conflicts. Indeed, aside from the historical and scientific aspects, these collections also present, since their creation, strategic issues: they help identify and map the territories’ resources and to organize their exploitation. In this sense, the museum showcases the first geological map ever constituted – the map of France, built by engineers from the School, in parallel with French lithium ores, as France is considering reopening some mines after closing them all (or almost), to regain some sovereignty over its natural resources. The collections constitute a precious instrument for materializing and talking about the strategic, economic and environmental


history, collection

pp. 19-20

43rd New Mexico Mineral Symposium
November 10-12, 2023, Macey Center, Socorro, NM
Print ISSN: 2836-7294
Online ISSN: 2836-7308