Permanent collections

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From Champollion to the writings of the world.

In 2007 the Musée Champollion-Les Ecritures du Monde, reopened after almost 2 years during which the museum was extended and renovated.

In 1986 the town of Figeac had decided to pay tribute to Jean François Champollion by dedicating the house he was born in to the subject of Ancient Egypt, opening it to the public.


Today the museum encompasses the writings of the world. The objective being to highlight Champollion’s work and situate it within the fabulous adventure of the written word.

Architecture which unites heritage and creation

The museum was designed by the architect Alain Moatti, of the firm Moatti and Rivière. It opens onto one of the town’s main squares with a dual façade which uses the building’s original medieval stone façade behind which is placed the “façade of a thousand letters” : a copper sheet held between glass is cut through with scripts from all over the world, an interpretation by the graphic designer Pierre di Sciullo.

In 2007 the Musée Champollion-Les Ecritures du Monde, reopened after almost 2 years during which the museum was extended and renovated.
In 1986 the town of Figeac had decided to pay tribute to Jean François Champollion by dedicating the house he was born in to the subject of Ancient Egypt, opening it to the public.

Today the museum encompasses the writings of the world. The objective being to highlight Champollion’s work and situate it within the fabulous adventure of the written word.

Writing, an adventure for humanity

The collections in the Musée Champollion tell how, more than 5000 years ago, writing appeared in different parts of the world : mankind created a system of signs whose organisation and shape enable thought and language to be seen.

Writing then gained mobility, evolving with each different scribe. It enabled man to intercede with the gods, to set up a system of government or to perceive the world. Technological innovations such as the invention of the book, the printing press and today’s digital technology have served many writing systems.
It is hard to imagine a world today without the signs that, written on stone or sand, represent the spoken word which links us to one another.

Permanent collections (galleries 1 to 6)

Champollion and Egypt

Jean François Champollion welcomes the visitor to the museum. The regular correspondence he had with his brother and the many notes taken during his research tell us of his progress, the difficulties he encountered and his inspired intuition. Founder of Egyptology, Champollion enables us to rediscover ancient Egypt : a mummy, statues of the gods in their various manifestations and other objects that accompanied the dead in the after-world illustrate our knowledge of this civilisation.

 

Mankind, the world and writing

An introductory room provides a first immersion into the adventure of the written word. How did mankind come to trace the first signs? What motivated this fantastic invention? Are there any scripts still to be deciphered? How do scripts evolve and colonize the world? The collections and various multi media activities give some of the answers to these questions.

The emergence of writing

The first scripts appeared in different parts of the world between the 4th and 1st millennium B.C. : cuneiform script in Mesopotamia, hieroglyphs in Egypt, Chinese characters and Maya glyphs in Central America. With inscriptions on stone, clay, papyrus or paper at your fingertips, explore the ancient civilisations.

The invention of the alphabet in the Mediterranean

The advent of the alphabet during the 1st millennium B.C. was truly revolutionary : making learning to write easier and quicker. Invented by civilisations living in the Middle East, dozens of different alphabets appeared around the Mediterranean : Phoenician, Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, Latin ......

 

The book, memory of mankind

A new medium for writing - the book – came to be used at the beginning of our era. From its invention to the age of the computer, the book has undergone several transformations due first to the arrival of paper in Europe, then to the rapid development of printing and most recently to the digital revolution.
Manuscripts on parchment, illuminated books, incunabula printed in Venice or Lyon ..... even a 21st century e-book illustrate these revolutionary changes.

 

Writing, government and the citizen

Writing is the link between administration and citizens. What use have different members of society made of writing? Decrees, administrative documents, newspapers, grievances, private correspondence, all show that writing can be a means of control for the authorities but also a means of obtaining information, expressing one’s opinion, protesting and creating......

 

Multimedia room

Videos and internet sites are available in the final room. Go on an unprecedented trip inside the Egyptian mummy!