French museum of feminist struggles aims to shed light on neglected histories

© Alain Jocard, AFP

In a first for France, the University of Angers has announced plans for a museum of feminist struggles, drawing on its ample archival resources and expertise to give the history of women’s fight for emancipation and equal rights a permanent home.

France is home to several thousand museums, ranging from the world’s most visited – the Louvre in Paris – to more obscure venues dedicated to themes as diverse as absinthe, vampires and cork screws.

Look for a women’s history museum, however, and you will find none.

In its index of museums dedicated to women, an A to Z of more than 150 virtual and physical venues from Albania to Zambia, the International Association of Women’s Museums counts just one French entry: Muséa, an online exhibition platform launched in 2004 by a group of historians at the University of Angers in western France.

Almost two decades later, their dream of a full-scale, physical museum is starting to take shape, soon to be housed in the university’s library and archival centre, which has established itself as a leading French hub for research on feminist movements.

“France had fallen behind other countries in not having a women’s history museum, whereas our history is full of things to talk about!” said Christine Bard, a historian at the University of Angers and one of the project’s key instigators.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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