Located in Digne-les-Bains, the Gassendi museum is renowned for its eclectic collections: natural history, ancient and contemporary art, works by remarkable local figures. As a true invitation to discovery and wonder, the Gassendi museum sometimes looks like a cabinet of curiosities, to the delight of children and their parents.
This peasant’s son, born in the small village of Champtercier, became in the 16th century a very famous humanist and scientist. This scholar was interested in many disciplines including philosophy, history, archaeology, arts, natural sciences, astronomy and mathematics. The departmental museum, decided at the end of the 19th century, pays homage to this man of culture by adopting his name.
The Gassendi Museum offers a wide variety of collections:
- The botanical cabinet pays tribute to the work and herbaria of Simon-Jude Honnorat.
- The Hydropithecus’ cradle highlights the work of science journalist Joan Fontcuberta on these uncommon fossils.
- The natural history cabinet testifies to the concern for classification of 19th century naturalists and museums.
- Histoire Locale retraces the human occupation of Digne from the Bronze Age to the 20th century.
- The science room displays many scientific instruments from the 19th century.
- The contemporary gallery showcases Tom Shannon’s Tabula terra and numerous works by Herman de Vries.
- Andy Goldsworthy’s room focuses on the work process of the eponymous artist with photographs, drawings, maps and archives.
- Étienne Martin’s cabinet pays tribute to the two people behind the museum, watercolorist and art dealer Paul Martin and his son Étienne, a landscape painter and the museum’s first curator.
- Jean Perdrizet’s showcase highlights the plans, documents and archives that gave birth to the inventions of this little-known genius.
- Bernard Plossu’s cabinet constitutes the first photographic inventory of the Dignois territory.
- The room of landscapes exhibits many paintings of Provençal landscapes painted by famous artists.
- The Pierre Gassendi cabinet allows visitors to meet the man who gave his name to the Digne-les-Bains departmental museum.
- The Ancient Art Room focuses on paintings and drawings from the 16th to the 19th century.
Contemporary art in Pays Dignois
The Gassendi Museum is part of a contemporary art project designed to build bridges between the museum, the city and nature. Installations are scattered in the middle of nature, in Pays Dignois, to surprise and question walkers. For example, in the Saint-Benoît park, Les joueurs de flûte (The flute players) by Erik Samakh are waiting for you. The Saint-Benoît park also hosts Point de réflexion (Reflection point), by Fabien Lerat/ Allô La Terre (Hello the Earth), by Knud Viktor, is waiting for you in the streets of Digne-les-Bains.
Prepare your visit to the departmental museum of Digne-les-Bains:
- Opening days: open all year round, except Tuesdays. Closed on public holidays from October to mid-May.
- Schedule: from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. from May 15 to September 30, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays, and from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. the rest of the year
- Address: 64, boulevard Gassendi 04000 Digne-les-Bains
- Services: store and bookstore available on site
- Website: https://www.musee-gassendi.org/fr/accueil/