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History of the RMN-GP

The Réunion des musées nationaux - Grand Palais (Rmn-GP) was founded in 1895 to raise and administer the funds required for the acquisition of works of art by national collections. At its creation, the Rmn was made up of only four bodies: the Louvre, the château de Versailles, the Musée du Luxembourg and the château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Museum of National Antiquities).

Today, the RMN-GP works with thirty four institutions: 32 museums and 2 exhibition venues. The museums range from the immense, with the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay and the château de Versailles, through medium-sized institutions such as the Musée Picasso, Paris, the Musée de la Renaissance at the château d'Ecouen and the Musée Message Biblique Marc Chagall, Nice to small entities such as the Musée Gustave Moreau, Paris, and the Musée Magnin, Dijon. The exhibition venues are the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais and the Palais de la Porte Dorée. 22 of these 34 institutions are located in Paris or the surrounding area.

In 1991, the RMN became a national public institution operating in industrial and commercial fields (EPIC) under the supervision of the French Ministry of Culture.

The Louvre became a public administrative entity in 1992. The museum and national estate at Versailles were similarly declared to be a public administrative entity in 1995. The Musée d'Orsay and the Musée des Arts asiatiques-Guimet became public administrative entities on 1 January 2004.

In 2011, the RMN-GP was born from the merger of the Réunion des Musées Nationaux and the Grand Palais, in order to constitute an international cultural operator, benefiting from an emblematic monument and drawing on the expertise and complementarity of the activities both institutions.

The Rmn-GP presents each year about forty very diverse cultural events in Paris, in the region and internationally. The Grand Palais, one of the favorite monuments of the French, is the prestigious showcase in the heart of Paris. Exhibitions, concerts, parades, shows, performances ... the programming, both demanding and popular, is accessible to all audiences in the interest of cultural democratization and is accompanied by a rich offer of mediation.

Beyond the events, the Rmn-GP broadcasts culture through its editorial activities, its network of bookstores art shops and its photographic agency, the first French agency of art images.

Finally, the RMN-GP contributes to the enrichment of national collections by making acquisitions on behalf of the State.

The missions of the RMN-GP

1. Acquisition of works of art

Acquiring works of art to expand the national collections is the RMN-GP's primary mission, for which it was set up in 1895.

It makes purchases - from individuals or art dealers or bids at public auctions - and manages donations and dations.

In 2002, the RMN spent 7 million euros on acquisitions.

2. Visitor reception

The RMN-GP participates in the development of reception areas as well as in the administration and management of public services (access, ticketing, cloakroom, guided tours, booking, etc.), for the majority of national museums and for the exhibitions that it co-organizes with them. Its board of directors fixes entrance fees as well as exemptions and discounts granted to specific visitor categories.

The RMN-GP specifies and settles booking procedures for groups (tourists, schools...) and visitors wishing to attend guided tours provided by lecturers from the national museums.

In addition, the RMN-GP offers a specific booking service for single visitors to all the exhibitions held in the Galeries nationales du Grand Palais that is available between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. This service is aimed at visitors who come from a great distance and wish to avoid queuing.

Since 1990, the RMN-GP has undertaken regular surveys of visitors attending national museums and exhibitions.

Furthermore, the RMN-GP is closely associated with the financial management of the musées et monuments Pass. This season ticket enables tourists to visit the 70 museums and monuments in Paris and in the Ile-de-France area at a fixed price calculated for one, three or five days.

3. Organization of temporary exhibitions

Since 1930, the RMN-GP has been in charge of the administrative and logistic organization of most temporary exhibitions presented in national museums as well as the larger exhibitions of the Galeries nationales du Grand Palais since they opened to the public in 1966.

The organization of a major international exhibition requires a considerable amount of work that usually covers a period of four or five years.

Exhibitions in national museums are scheduled several years in advance by a special committee which meets regularly at the RMN-GP's head office.

The RMN-GP fixes the exhibitions' budget and supervises its implementation. It negotiates and signs co-production agreements with foreign museums when large international exhibitions are displayed successively in two or three countries or, in the case of regional exhibitions, within French territorial communities. The RMN-GP also administers loan applications as well as the shipping and insurance of works of art. Together with the exhibition commissioners, the RMN-GP chooses the architect-designer who will be in charge of mounting the exhibition. Once the exhibition is organized, the RMN-GP carries out the promotional work (press relations, advertising...).

The RMN-GP is also responsible for finding sponsors and partners who wish to bring financial support to these exhibitions.

In addition, the RMN-GP co-produces or contributes on request to the organization of exhibitions which are presented by institutions other than national museums, sharing its own experience and know-how with them.

The RMN-GP therefore works regularly with regional museums, institutions affiliated to the Direction du Patrimoine as well as with the AFAA (Association fran,aise d'Action artistique/Ministry of Foreign Affairs) on a selection of international exhibitions.

The RMN-GP organizes around 20 exhibitions a year, which differ in size, subject and cost.

4. Cultural distribution and publication

The RMN-GP has always had a commercial activity, although at the beginning it was limited to selling the engravings and molds produced by the Louvre's workshops. In the 1930s, it took over the publication of postcards, guides and catalogues for the national museums' permanent collections and the temporary exhibitions organized by the RMN-GP. This publishing activity - extended to audiovisual publications, and, since 1993, to multimedia - has flourished in recent years and the RMN-GP's structure has changed accordingly. It is now an EPIC, a public enterprise of an industrial and commercial nature.

The RMN-GP also disseminates cultural material, striving to reconcile its mission as a public service with market forces. It therefore focuses on top quality, both in the choice and content of the products and in their production.

The products sold by the RMN-GP fall into several categories: books, images, videos, CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs, molds, engravings, jewelry and gifts.