The Museum's history

The Museum's history

 

THE GOLDEN COURT MUSEUM as visitors see it today is the result of a rich historical past.
 

A little history

  • 1839 : The Museum is established
  • 1841 : Natural history collections
  • 1935 : New wing is opened
  • 1977 : Creation of 35 new exhibition halls
  • 1980 : Official opening of 42 permanent presentation spaces
 

A FEW NUMBERS

  • 2000 years of history
  • 42 spaces to discover
  • More than 6000 m² of exhibition area
  • 50,000 visitors
  • 13,000 school trips

The Musée de La Cour d'Or - Metz Métropole is located close to the Cathedral of Saint Stephen in the heart of Metz, in a complex comprising the former Abbey des Petits Carmes, the Chèvremont granary dating from 1457 and the small Eglise des Trinitaires. It brings together Gallo-Roman, mediaeval and Fine Arts collections in more than 6000 square meters of space.

The name of the Museum refers to a local legend that the buildings housing the museum stand on the site of the former royal palace of the Merovingian kings of Austrasia.

Like many museums, the Musée de La Cour d'Or was founded in the 19th century and was organised in encyclopaedic fashion: a collection of paintings and sculptures, an archaeological fund and a natural history collection.
 
  The city museum was officially established in 1839. The scope and interests of the archaeological collections, established from the second third of the 19th century onwards, however confer the museum with a specific dimension compared to other facilities more noted for their collection of fine arts. Metz's strong point is the significance of the remains discovered during excavations performed during the first German annexation (1871-1918) as part of urban development. In a city with a rich Gallo-Roman and mediaeval past, these discoveries established the museum's early reputation. 

The originality of the Musée de La Cour d'Or is due to its re-creation of the universe of the ancient and mediaeval city's inhabitants.
A real site museum, the Cour d'Or contains Gallo-Roman thermal baths, a mediaeval granary, an ancient church and a 17th century staircase: these architectural elements provide a framework which is symbiotically linked to the collections, and are masterfully imposing. The topics covered during a visit to the museum offer a remarkable continuity, running from Antiquity right through to the Renaissance, thanks to the coherence and quality of group displays such as funerary and liturgical sculpture, jewellery and porcelain, as well as the painted decor of living spaces. The collections include works of national or even international importance: the altar to the god Mithra, the chancel of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains, and the mediaeval painted wooden ceilings. This continuity and variety are the result of successive contributions to collections and the development of historic architecture dedicated to their presentation.



 
The museums of Metz are the work of conservationists and their entourage, who developed and enriched them throughout the 20th century, all the while making their mark on them. More specifically, they are the work of Gérald Collot, who was director of the museum from 1957 to 1987, who embodied the talent of a pragmatic yet visionary conservationist. Building on the legacy of his predecessors - archaeological specialists and multi-talented scholars, G. Collot distinguished himself by implementing a complete rearrangement and breath-taking expansion, all while continuing to acquire exceptional works. 

The results of a clever interweaving of buildings, the museum, inaugurated in 1980 with thirty-five new halls, forms a complex organised both thematically and chronologically, taking on labyrinthine qualities as it progressively unveils its interiors, and ingeniously leading the visitor from surprise to surprise.