National Museum of Education

The museum

As a department of the Réseau Canope and the former educational museum designed by Jules Ferry in 1879, the National Museum Of Education (MUNAE) - certified Museum of France- is responsible for the promotion of scientific, heritage and documentary resources. Workshops and exhibitions dedicated to family and school education are made available throughout the year at the resource centre and at the exhibition centre both located in Rouen. (exhibition centre and resource centre).


From the Educational Museum to the National Museum Of Education

Back in 1879, the Educational Museum founded by Jules Ferry in Paris was the place where political will could express itself in favour of popular education. In the spirit of its founder, the Educational museum "is designed to provide our primary instruction system with the same service as the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts does with vocational education." In other words, it was a question of providing education professionals with a tangible picture of current progress in education.

The history and museum dimension of the collections which had been then preserved on rue d'Ulm, grew more and more important over decades. Significant series of engravings, photographs, pupils' works, toys and educational toys were added to initial documents i.e. educational materials and textbooks. The "historical collections" transferred to Rouen in 1980 constitute the core of the current National Museum of Education.

The MUNAE is actually the culmination of a project designed within the National Institute for Educational Research and Documentation at the beginning of the 1970's. That meant collecting extensive heritage educational materials on a national scale for preservation, exhibition and research purposes. Significant collections of educational material purposely gathered by the Rouen CRDP were to be added to the historical Collections inherited from the Educational museum. The reunification of the two collections on the Rouen-Mont Saint Aignan site was carried on within the framework of the national Museum of Education initiated by the INRP (National Institute for Educational Research) on January the 1st 1980.

In 2001, the house of Aymon's four sons, the MUNAE exhibition centre was fully renovated. In 2010, the collections and the resource centre of the museum were moved to a new and functional building, on 6, rue de Bihorel, in Rouen. (architect: N. Fahmy). In 2011, the MUNAE became a department of the national Centre for Educational Documentation, today's Réseau CANOPÉ.


The mission of the new national Museum of Education founded on January the 1st 1980, as assigned by the Minister, was to "gather tangible evidence of education history in a consistent way" and to be addressed "from a twofold perspective : opening up to the general public and offering a practical and functional exploitation for scientific purposes."

Minister Of Education

In this respect, the national Museum of Education has a resource centre consisting of more than 9000.000 documents related to the history of education in France from the 15th century to the present day and of an exhibition centre open to a wide public.


The MUNAE - the National Museum of Education-maintains partnership relationships with similar institutions abroad; notably as part of the International Symposium for School Museums and School History Collections.

In France, it plays a leading role for a growing number of local education museums.

The House of Aymon's Four Sons, a historical monument which houses the MUNAE exhibition centre

The exhibition centre of the national Museum of Education has been located in an outstanding setting at the heart of the historic district of Rouen since 1980: The House Of Aymon's Four Sons. Built around 1475, the house is one the most outstanding corbelled house in Rouen and was named after an epic from the late Middle-Ages. The house is said to have been built by a family of drapers, the Capelles. Until the 19th century, the building's owners ranged from public figures to textile tradesmen-drapers, dyers, canvas makers, trimming manufacturers, tailors...etc.

From the 18th century, there has been demographic and environmental change in the Robec district, which developed thanks to woollen textile industry. The cotton industry supplanted the work of canvas makers, fullers and tailors who left the district. It became a low-cost housing district, just like the furnished and licensed hotel - the former house of Aymon's four sons - depicted in Madame Bovary. The next door 18th century half-timbered house was added to the main building in 1873. The hotel, often described as a house of ill repute, was ironically called the 'house of weddings' until the 20th century.

The large gable loft and the two-storeys of this corbelled house are supported by wooden roof beams often covered in slates (essentage). The interior architecture reveals solid wooden beams and an Italianate ceiling painted around 1600.

The abandoned building with heritage-listed facades was acquired by the city of Rouen in 1960 and granted to the Ministry of Education as early as 1975; it would soon become the showcase of the future national Museum of Education. Restoration and renovation works started an early as 1978, so that the exhibition centre could open its doors in 1980. Another full renovation of the site was completed between 1996 and 2001 followed by a reopening in December 2001. The 2013 to 2015 renovations of the ground floor and of the top floor provided two renovated scenographic spaces in accordance with today's preservation and museum norms.