The links between research and museums are complex. In the eyes of “museum professionals”, research is an inherent part of the profession. But what are we talking about exactly, which disciplines, which practices, which knowledge? The recent heated debates on the conditions in which certain objects were acquired and moved, revealed the delay and probably the insufficiency of the research carried out; The evidence for the role of museums in research was questioned. Everyone agrees today that the debate on “restitutions”, and more broadly on the provenance and meaning of objects, can only move forward smoothly with research. But this consensus does not say which disciplines contribute to this expertise, how they cooperate with each other, how are working relationships between researchers and (other) museum professionals organized? Who does what and how do each of them articulate their work, through which functional, permanent or contractual links? When it comes to the research itself, one thinks of history, of art history naturally, but also of the “hard” sciences, the humanities and the social sciences or even political.

This debate on March 9 does not seek to answer all the questions, but it aims, for the professionals who will follow it, to highlight the place of the scientific spirit in practice and in training for museum professions. The challenge of nurturing this spirit of research is decisive for museums to remain at the heart of scientific dialogue between cultures, to shed light on the history of our societies, including painful ones. The spread of the pandemic did not slow down this debate; perhaps on the contrary – through a resilience effect – it opens up the possibility of renewing our approaches to the museum / research link.

Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 882 8880 4783
Code: 006596

For more information, check the landing page of this event.

Agenda (in French)


  •  Charles Personnaz, directeur de l’Institut national du patrimoine
  •  Juliette Raoul-Duval, présidente d’ICOM France

Intervention vidéo

  •  Etienne Klein, physicien et philosophe des sciences

Partie 1 – Panorama de la recherche dans les musées

  •  Eric de Chassey, directeur de l’Institut national d’Histoire de l’Art
  •  Christian Hottin, directeur des études de l‘Institut national du patrimoine
  •  Pascal Liévaux, Délégation à l’inspection, à la recherche et à l’innovation, direction générales des patrimoines
  •  Roland May, directeur Délégation à l’inspection, à la recherche et à l’innovation, direction générale des patrimoines Centre Interdisciplinaire de Conservation et de Restauration du Patrimoine (ou son représentant)
  •  Steph Scholten, directeur de la Hunterian, université de Glasgow – vice-président d’UMAC

Partie modérée par Juliette Raoul-Duval et Hélène Vassal (ICOM France)

Partie 2 – La recherche dans les musées à l’épreuve des questions vives

  •  André Delpuech, directeur du musée de l’Homme
  •  Francis Duranthon, paléontologue – directeur des musées de la ville de Toulouse
  •  Ariane James-Sarazin, directrice adjointe du musée de l’Armée
  •  Anne-Catherine Robert-Hauglustaine, directrice du musée de l’Air et de l’Espace

Partie modérée par Laurence Isnard (Service des musées de France)