The museums on the island of Aix - the Napoleonic Museum and the African Museum - are quite unique.
In 1926, Baron Napoleon Gourgaud (1891-1944) - great-grandson of General Gaspard Gourgaud (1783-1852), who accompanied the emperor on his three-day stay on the island of Aix in 1815 - bought the house where the imperial stay took place, with the help of his wife, Eva Gebhard (1886-1959), a wealthy American heiress.
Gourgaud managed to collect many historical souvenirs that joined his ancestor's collections: the Napoleonic Museum opened its doors in 1928.
Gourgaud, a great lover of hunting, brings back many trophies from three great expeditions to Africa between 1913 and 1931. He bought the small houses of the military commissariat opposite the Napoleon Museum to house an African museum.
Admirably naturalized by the most famous taxidermist of the time, the Rowland Ward house in London, the wild animals are displayed in dioramas reproducing the decor of their natural habitat. The African museum is then enriched with ethnographic objects, masks, tools, weapons and shields. It still retains the 1930s presentation desired by Gourgaud, including the emblematic Arabian camel, which is said to have been ridden by Bonaparte during the Egyptian campaign...
Napoleon Gourgaud donated the Napoleonic and African museums to the French state in 1933.
The guide retraces in a lively and widely illustrated way the unique history of these two museums.
96 pages / 80 illustrations
Éditions de la Rmn - Grand Palais