National Museum of Education

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Nice plants !

  • From 25/05/2018 - To 15/09/2019
Discover our new exhibition: the "Nice Plants" of Doctor Auzoux, a botanical travel !

Exhibition location:

Nice plants ! Dr. Auzoux’s papier-mâché models

 Mixing botanic, historical and symbolic anecdote and pedagogical fabrication and diffusion, let us invite you in the heart of plants.

 The National Museum of Education (MNE) owns 32 educational botanical models created by Dr. Louis Auzoux’s Establishments in the French Eure region. These wonderful models, which were created in 1877, were donated by Lycée Corneille in Rouen. Ten times bigger than the original and fully demountable, these pieces are remarkable for their technique (hand-painted papier-mâché), their aesthetics as well as the educational role they played to spread the teaching of science.

Download the english text of the exhibition


Louis Auzoux (1797-1880): doctor and industrial

How could we create 3D representations of parts of the human body, of the animal and plant kingdom, that could be opened and manipulated ? That question has been discussed by numerous scientists since the 18th century. In order to democratise access to science, it is actually necessary to spread ‘models’ in great numbers and for a limited cost.

The original fabrication technique (papier-mâché) allows him to produce lots of pieces, both solid, lightweight and realistic.

As it was very successful, in 1828, he founded a factory to create and spread his anatomical as well as botanical models, as of the 1860s. This models were created in a pedagogical intention, especially the flowers and fruits but also agricultural specimens are built in university and highschool in the entire world.

Botanical's models

In 2007, Lycée Corneille in Rouen gave 32 botanic models, dated from 1877, which are the heart of the exhibition. This series is completed by several loan from patrimonial and pedagogical institutions, to create an unique exhibition. Discover the models of the exhibition online!


Anatomic and physiologic's models

In order to replace the botanical models in a larger context of Auzoux’s Establishments, the last part of the exhibition presents animal’s and human’s models, which made its success and reputation. The spectacular ‘Big Skinned’, with its 1m82, conserved in Montpellier’s University and labelled as Historical Monument is the main piece of this room. Recently restored, it travels for the first time.

 Exhibiton for everybody ! 3  years old and +

Kids are not forgotten: the mediation room is waiting for them! Little games about botanical, sensorial discovery… The botanical world is waiting for them!

 Botanic, teaching history and pleasure for the eyes

The exhibition is for everyone: botanic expert or just curious; come and visit us!


Models are actually restored thanks to the Fondation du Patrimoine and the Société d’horticulture de Seine-Maritime which help us to raise a quarter of the funds we need to restore them all. 12 models have been totally restored thanks to the generosity of association, enterprise and individuals.

Participate to our restoration campaign!

Discover also the beautiful website made by Haute Ecole des Arts du Rhin (Beaux-arts School): manipulation 3d, films… A didactic approach of our models.

Among all our models, we invite you to look closer the beautiful collection from the ESPE of Paris, recently restored too. Discover the 3D models online.