Permanent collections : Mont Blanc heritages

Permanent collections
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Le dernier effort, sommet du Grépon, Edouard Brun, 1ère moitié 20e siècle ©Denis Vidalie
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Les patrimoines du mont Blanc

Le musée Alpin vous propose de découvrir le patrimoine historique et artistique du territoire du mont Blanc. L'exposition permanente vous invite à voyager dans l'histoire de la vallée de Chamonix, avec les débuts de l'alpinisme et la conquête du mont Blanc, les grandes aventures scientifiques à 4000 m d'altitude, la création des sports d'hiver et d'été, les transformations de la vallée avec le développement touristique... et vous convie à la contemplation devant une sélection artistique dédiée à la Mer de Glace.

Les collections

Fondé à la fin du 19e siècle, le musée sauvegarde et valorise plus de 11000 pièces de collection du 18e au milieu du 20e siècle. Le musée Alpin préparant sa rénovation, la sélection des oeuvres présentées pourra évoluer en fonction des restaurations engagées et de l'arrivée de nouvelles pièces.

Un lieu emblématique

Le musée est installé dans l'ancien hôtel de luxe "Chamonix Palace" ouvert en mai 1914, un bâtiment emblématique de la Belle Époque.

Where to find us

Mont Blanc, a symbolic mountain and landmark, is world-renowned. People make special trips to Chamonix to climb it or at least contemplate it from one of the designated viewpoints.But this is a relatively recent development. The high mountains of the Alps were among the last virgin spaces to be explored and conquered in Europe, between the end of the18th century and the beginning of the 20th.

 

Working the land

To explore the Chamonix valley is to wander through acres ofunspoiled countryside developed and inhabited by man, away from the glacial and high mountain areas. Rearing livestock was the main economic activity before the advent of tourism and leisure activities, which beganin the 19th century. People in the valley made money from milk and life was dictated by the agricultural calendar. The objects and tools on display reflect this story of a rural way of life.

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Parcours permanent - Vue des salles avec visiteurs ©musée Alpin
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Les patrimoines du mont Blanc, collection permanente, musée Alpin
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Conquering the high mountains and the beginning of tourism

The exploration of the high mountains really began in the 18th century for scientific reasons. Mont Blanc was first scaled on August 8, 1786 - an event which made an enormous impact. The Chamonix valley became the cradle of mountaineering and the conquest of summits. The ice flow of the first half of the 19th century also contributed to the development of tourism as sightseeing, where visitors came to admire waterfalls, glaciers and snow-capped peaks.

 

1800-2000:The transformation of a valley

The Chamonix Valley, a mecca for tourists and sportsmen alike for so many years, has been in a constant state of development for two centuries. New urban planning with road and rail infrastructure have transformed the landscape at the bottom of the valley. At altitude, private and public initiatives equipped the mountain with refuges and places to get refreshments, followed by the installation of cable cars and ski lifts. The many illustrations, pictures and photographs at the Alpine Museum makes it possible to trace these developments

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Les patrimoines du mont Blanc, collection permanente, musée Alpin
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Parcours permanent -Métamorphoses d'une vallée ©musée Alpin
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The scientists of Mont Blanc

Studying the mountain was a way of conquering this virgin, hostile territory and banishing the many superstitions that surrounded it. Mont Blanc quickly became a place of experiment for many scientists. During the first ascent of Mont Blanc, Horace Bénédict de Saussure laid the foundations for scientific study, leaving the field open to his successors. A century later, Joseph Vallot and Jules Janssen built the Mont Blanc observatories, carrying out experiments in many fields such as meteorology, glaciology, physiology, cartography and astronomy.

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Les scientifiques du mont Blanc, parcours permanent, musée Alpin
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Les scientifiques du mont Blanc, parcours permanent, musée Alpin
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The gallery of artefacts

The gallery of artefacts gives access to the wide range of collections held by the Alpine Museum for more a century, and usually held in storage and out of the sight of visitors. This varied collection is the legacy of people's stories and a reflection of our common history.

 

Gabriel Loppé

Gabriel Loppé (1825-1913) made his mark on the history of Chamonix, mountaineering and mountain painting. Combining his two passions, equipped with his ice axe and his brushes, he was one of the first to specialise in painting the high mountains, producing countless views of the peaks and glaciers. Loppé, an aficionado of outdoor painting, painted wherever his travels took him.

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La Mer de Glace une curiosité esthétique, parcours permanent, musée Alpin
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La Mer de Glace, une curiosité esthétique

Au 18ème siècle, les paysages glaciaires suscitent la curiosité des découvreurs, des premiers touristes et des artistes. Depuis lors, la Mer de Glace, aussi appelée glacier des Bois, figure parmi les glaciers alpins les plus représentés. Son iconographie se développe sur tous les supports tels que l’estampe, la peinture, l’aquarelle ou la photographie. Cet immense glacier descendant du mont Blanc est un témoin de l'Histoire, celle du tourisme et du développement économique de la vallée de Chamonix, celle des sensibilités et de l'iconographie de la montagne mais aussi celle du climat et de l'évolution glaciaire.

Two seasons on the mountain: summer and winter

Visited in summer, the mountain is a wonderful place for those seeking a change of scenery and outdoor activities. In the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Valley, there are many different sports on offer, but walking and mountaineering are what have made the valley famous since the 18th century. This phenomenon is reflected in the evolution of the equipment used: the more the mountain is climbed, the more the equipment evolves.

At the beginning of the 20th century, winter tourism developed in the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Valley. The rise of winter sports saw tourist activity expand into a second season. The valley shot to fame with opportunities for relaxation and sporting exploits such as skiing, sledging and ice skating. The promotion of these activities was reinforced by the organisation of races, contests and competitions with an international dimension. In 1908, the second “International Winter Sports Week” was organised in Chamonix -  an event which would inspire the organisation of the first Olympic Winter Games in 1924 and the first running of a legendary ski racein Kandahar in 1948.

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Le matériel de l'alpiniste, collections du musée Alpin
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Sports Eté et Hiver, parcours permanent, musée Alpin
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