Opening the Doors of Museums to the Public (1959–1981): Programs and the Statuses of the Curators in Question

By Odile Join-Lambert

From the ministry of André Malraux to that of Jack Lang (1959–1981), French museums extended their programs to reach a more diversified targeted public. This evolution created a tension between the legal status and training of curators, and the new multiplicity of duties demanded of them at the departmental and national level. A contrast emerged between the evolution of the programs and the stagnation of the status, in turn revealing differences between departmental and national curators. Two different kinds of civil servants with contrasting social origins and careers existed in the same civil servant body. This contrast also revealed the absence of a forum (except for the commission of the 6th Plan chaired by Pierre Emmanuel) in which to construct a common language between those who were trying to analyze perceived needs and those present in the commissions to amend the status. Finally, the contrast revealed parliamentary indifference concerning a question which, directly discussed between the curators and the Direction des Musées de France, was not supported by any social movement.


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