Kids in Museums volunteer Rachel Job took time out from her busy schedule to take a look at what Musée des Confluences in Lyon, has to offer. She certainly was not dissapointed.
This year I’m living in Saint-Etienne in France, not far from one of the country’s biggest cities, Lyon. Being an anthropology graduate, the Musée des Confluences there was bound to attract me with its many exhibitions about what it means to be human.
The museum was only opened at the end of 2014 and has fast become one of Lyon’s most popular attractions. The building is called “le nuage”- the cloud- and it sits the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône Rivers, hence the museum’s name. The architecture is striking.
Being housed in a new building has an advantage in terms of accessibility for wheelchair users and buggies. There’s a step-free entrance, big lifts that serve every floor, accessible toilets and space to move around the exhibition spaces. A wheelchair accessible tram also runs directly from Lyon’s two main train stations to the entrance to the museum. Easy!
The day I visited with my mum was a Sunday and the place was buzzing with families (no one’s going to say shush here). One of the most popular galleries for them – and indeed one of our favourites too – was the “Origins – Stories of the World” gallery. This takes you on a trip back in time, exploring the origins of human life and the universe through the eyes of both Western science and creation stories from throughout the world.
The artefacts and information are exceptionally well presented. There are lots of models, skeletons and fossils as well as lots of short engaging videos, which the children were really enjoying. Everything is bilingual French and English and there is just the right amount of information. It’s the sort of gallery that can be enjoyed on lots of different levels and there’s always room to come back and learn more.
The museum and this gallery especially would certainly tick lots of the boxes against the points on the Kids in Museums manifesto. There are lots of ‘please touch’ signs and anything which can’t be touched is out of reach so exploring the gallery is very intuitive for children, and for adults.
It’s a fairly big museum and half the exhibitions are temporary- and can be seen at no extra cost- so there’s always something new to see. I have already been twice and will certainly be returning several more times before I return to the UK.
Tickets 9 euros, 5 euros for 18-25 year olds. Under-18s free.