& Cultural Preservation:
Project to Save the Museum of the Assistance
An Interview of Project Director Dr. Jean-François
Who is Jean-François Moreau? I'm the ongoing President of ADAMAP
[Association des Amis du Musée de l'Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris]
for a 3-year-mandate (2010-2012). I was an international academic radiologist
now retired who has been always fond of history in general and peculiarly of
history of medicine.
Why that alert? At the moment and for a while expected to be quite long,
the atmosphere has been deleterious at the administration of the Assistance
Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris, so called AP-HP, the “biggest French academic
hospital institution” with 42 active hospitals. We all know AP-HP has to be
submitted to drastic and prolonged plans of budget cuttings. This is not a
French exception, this is an ubiquitous serious problem because of the
destructive socio-economical crisis the world has to afford since 2007. Museums
and more generally all items dealing with culture usually are hated by the
official administrators having accounting executive functions.
the Adamap, we can be nothing but alarmed because we know the summertime is
propitious for ‘faits accomplis’ decisions of submissions – in this case, to close this museum!
Adamap’s Executive Bureau believes it is wiser
to prevent such a risk by a consistent alert with a strong international
campaign before anything negative and irreparable has been done. The risk is
plausible and credible and this campaign is necessary against the absurdity of
closing this museum.
What is Adamap? L'Association des Amis du Musée de l'AP-HP (ADAMAP) was
founded in 2003 in order “to defend and to illustrate” the millenary memory of
the social and sanitary role played by the hospitals of Paris since the
creation of the Hôtel-Dieu in the early Middle Ages which all visitors of Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral on the Ile de la Cité may
have seen since 1164 AC. The active life of the Musée de l’AP-HP, governmental
limited by regular but rigid administrative constraints. It needs an
association (non-profit) to provide flexibility without any risk of unethical
behavior. The museum director Ms Anne Nardin and the Adamap are working
synergically and complementarily according to the paradigm “independence within
interdependence” popularized by our former Prime Minister, Edgar Faure. This will help the management of our respective
cultural programs and the search for patrons.
edits and publishes a quarterly Letter. It owns its website opened in 2008.
Moreover, not only do we have to conserve existing history but we also must
increase the items with contemporary exhibits. We must conserve these important
testimonies of medical history of the AP-HP. The official budget of the Museum
cannot support the amount of expenditure required to achieve such a goal.
What is the Musée de l’AP-HP? The Musée de l’AP-HP is the first French
hospital museum in size and in age. It was created in 1934, a symbolic year
when the government established a political program of great works in order to
fight against the catastrophic socio-economical consequences of the crisis of
1929-1930. Then the famous but old Hôpital de la Charité
de Paris founded in 1613 was destroyed in order
to build a new school
of Medicine, rue des
Saints-Pères, Paris VII. A new hospital was built in Clichy (hôpital Beaujon) and the medical
activity was transferred to the Hôpital Broussais. Fortunately, some VIPs
demonstrated that the worthy cultural treasure of La Charité needed to be
conserved and exhibited in a dedicated Museum. Since 1994, it is located inside
the prestigious Hôtel de Miramion, a palace built in the XVIIth Century at the
Quai de la Tournelle, facing the Ile Saint-Louis on the left bank of the River
Seine, belonging to the AP-HP. It is annually visited by more than 20000
people. Its only handicap is its small size.
Is that sufficient reason for this unacceptable closing? Not at all
indeed. To be honest, until now, the ongoing Directeur Général de l’AP-HP, Mr
Benoît Leclerc, has expressed his sympathy to the Adamap (http://www.adamap.fr/musee.html)
thus to the Musée. However, the administration of AP-HP is just
experiencing a new system of rules and regulations with new executive and
consultative bodies and nobody knows when his term should expire. This may
happen tomorrow or much later and his successor might have a different vision
of the future of the Museum. Until now the tutor of the AP-HP was the Mayor of
Paris. Since the end of June, the AP-HP is administered by the national government
under President Sarkozy. But, as for our Museum, this doesn’t appear to be so
simple because, contrary to the AP-HP itself, it’s not under the full
administration of the Minister of Health and Sports, Ms Roselyne
Museum is indeed Musée de France-labelled. This means that it is submitted for
the so-called law of 2002 governing the National Patrimony, therefore it is
supposed to be more or less independent from the Minister of Culture, Frédéric Mitterrand.
This is all politics. Are you political? Certainly not if you think a
politician reflects a subordination to a given political party. The Adamap is
not linked to any political party, whether it is governmental or leftist at the
moment. I support the concept of giving the knowledge of history a prominent
place in a plan aiming to adapt a social and sanitary politics to the
modernity. The result of a given think-tank wouldn’t be efficient without clear
previous understanding of what was done in the past in the field submitted for
change. Sometimes the cause of a pitfall is based upon an insidious mistake
made one century before. For instance, how to explain the development of nosocomial infections without knowledge of its follow-up
in public health through the XXth Century? A pertinent museum should provide
the evidence of a modern theory taken from its archives.
But this Museum is so small, isn’t it? Yes it is but we’re not alone.
There are four Museums in Paris combining their efforts in the
conservation of the treasures of their institutions. We’ve an excellent
relationship with the Musée d’Histoire de la médecine located at the Université
Paris Descartes which is administrated by Ms Véronique Clin, president of the
World Association of the Medical Museums as we do with the Musée Pasteur and
the Musée Curie. We’re establishing relationships with other national and
international Museums, such as the Musée Marey de Beaune.
Why an international campaign to solve a Parisian problem? Because I’m
convinced that the conservation of the memory is ubiquitously important to all
professionals interested in medicine and public health. There’re plenty of
Museums dealing with medical topics around the World. Most of them look more
like local chapels than a Louvre or a National Gallery. I started being
concerned when I knew that the Musée Marey was closed because of the unsafety
of the building where it was hosted in Beaune. Marey’s opus is at the birth of
many techniques including cinematography. His history is linked with the
founder of Stanford University and his photographer,
Muybridge, with whom he shared his discoveries and his inventions.
do you imagine this is possible to re-open that Museum while the treasures
can’t be exhibited in the fabulous city of Beaune, famous because of the Burgundy wine of course and the magnificent old Hospices too. A
year ago I contacted the president of Stanford
University unsuccessfully but the
famous neuroendocrinologist Roger Guillemin,
awarded Nobel Prize in 1977, who was born in Burgundy before he migrated to the USA and he settled at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California,
accepted to take over and he got the expected encouraging answer.
have the intuition that the time has come to have a project for a larger Museum
of medicine combining the conservation and the exhibition of all real and
virtual archives spread out over the World. This would be one of the most
cost-effective ways of education offered the 9 billion people supposed to live
on the Planet Earth by 2050. All this is possible
with the Internet but the latter cannot fully replace humans and buildings.
those technocrats who aim to control the health care
expenditures would spend more and more money for less and less success.
I’m a citizen of the World. ‘The world is flat’, as the famous journalist of
the New York Times, Thomas
Friedman, has stated wisely in his book about his new life in the Global
the Interviewer: Germaine McCormack-Kós is
an international artist and producer. As an active member and international
councillor of ADAMAP, she is the first signator to the petition and she
participates in the English-speaking lobbying campaign.
Jean-François Moreau, MD, FACR is an
Emeritus Professor of Radiology at Paris Descartes
University, the Honorary Chairman, Radiology Department at Necker Hospital, and the Founder and President of the
World Academy of Sciences and Technologies of Imaging (WASTI, 2009). Dr. Moreau
is also a writer, historian, photographer and reporter, as well as Publisher
and Webmaster of ADAMAP http://www.adamap.fr/.
Important Note: BWW Society Members who wish to join hands with Dr.
Moreau in a show of support for saving a valuable facet of the cultural
heritage of the French
Republic are invited to
sign the Petition on-line, via the website: http://www.adamap.fr/petition.html