National Museum of Natural History (France)
|Muséum national d'histoire naturelle|
|Established||June 10, 1793|
|Location||57 Rue Cuvier, Paris, France|
|Type||Natural history museum|
|Collection size||68 million specimens|
|Visitors||1.9 million per year|
The main museum is in Paris, on the left bank of the River Seine. It was founded in 1793 during the French Revolution, but was established earlier in 1635. The museum has 14 sites in France, with four in Paris. It includes the Jardin des Plantes, which is one of the seven departments of the museum.
The museum was formally founded on 10 June 1793, during the French Revolution. Its origins lie in the Jardin royal des plantes médicinales (royal garden of medicinal plants) created by King Louis XIII in 1635, which was directed and run by the royal physicians. The royal proclamation of the boy-king Louis XV on 31 March 1718 removed the purely medical function. This allowed the garden, the Jardin du Roi (King's garden), to focus on natural history.
For much of the 18th century (1739–1788), the garden was under the direction of Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, one of the leading naturalists of the Enlightenment. It brought international fame and prestige to the establishment. The royal institution survived the French Revolution by being reorganized in 1793 as a republican Muséum national d'histoire naturelle with twelve professorships of equal rank. Some of its early professors included eminent comparative anatomist Georges Cuvier and evolutionary pioneers Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck and Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. The museum's aims were to instruct the public, put together collections and conduct scientific research.