Celebrated for many years for its magnificent garden and its collections of autochromes that are unique in the world, the Albert Kahn Museum has been given a new architectural setting. Its priceless collections, a blend of images and plants, will reopen to the public on 2 April 2022 with an initial exhibition entitled "Around the World".
The Albert Kahn Museum, a philanthropic banker’s visionary project in the heart of Boulogne-Billancourt.
In the 19th century, the banker Albert Kahn, who had made his fortune in mineral resources and dreamed of a world at peace, created and financed ten foundations to promote understanding between peoples. Perceiving that his era would witness great changes, he set himself the somewhat crazy challenge of creating an iconographic memory of societies on the verge of disappearing. From 1909 to 1931, he sent operators from his property in Boulogne-Billancourt, in the west of Paris, to photograph and film more than 60 countries. The images are assembled in the Archives of the Planet, a collection of some hundred hours of black and white film and more than 72,000 autochrome plates, the first industrial process for true colour photography patented by the Lumière brothers, of which the museum today owns the largest collection in the world.
Philanthropist, patron of the arts, pacifist, visionary, humanist… Albert Kahn's enigmatic personality and his project continue to inspire the collective imagination and the work of researchers.
The Travel Museum in images
In a new building designed by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the museum's 2300m² of space presents permanent collections and temporary exhibitions, with a restaurant area too. The patiently collected images of a lost world are scattered throughout the exhibition and appear to come to life in screenings, on walls of images, via touch screens, and more. The various methods of presentation invite visitors to play an active role in their visit by forging a connection with the collections and thinking about their universal significance.
Priceless collections of plants
Built between 1895 and 1910 on a 4-hectare site, the gardens, a true plant-based journey around the world, are an integral part of the museum's collections. Here, Albert Kahn assembled and harmoniously combined the most diverse gardens, reflecting the world he dreamed of: English garden, French garden, rose garden, orchard, and a Japanese garden containing a remarkable traditional "tea village" installed during the banker's lifetime.
As you follow the paths, the Image Factory explains the techniques used in filming and presents both the equipment and the style of the various operators, while the Plate Room, a former laboratory, preserves the original boxes, a precious testimony to the world of the past. The adjoining projection room contains a lantern for projecting autochromes, as used in the past.
The museum's collections will also be displayed in the centre of the garden, in the wings of the monumental greenhouse, with two new areas. In the "Society Gardens", illustrated maps, autochromes, films and testimonies evoke the impression that a visit to the gardens made on the guests of the master of the house. The "Philosophical Garden" is a laboratory of life in which autochromes of the garden and films on the growth of plants are part of an immersive audiovisual experience.
Guided tours, workshops, artists in residence and more… the museum’s various areas are full of life all year round.
More museums and monuments in the Paris Region.
Access and contact
Days and opening hours
From 02/04 to 31/12/2022 between 11 am and 7 pm. Closed on Monday. Closed exceptionally on May 1st and December 25th. Reservations are strongly recommended, especially at weekends. 11am to 6pm (October to March): museum and garden close at 5.30pm 11am to 7pm (April to September): the museum and garden close at 6.30pm Monthly evening events until 10pm: next dates 14 June, 5 July Closed from 1 to 14 January.
- Full price: 8 € (The entrance ticket includes a visit to the permanent collections, the temporary exhibitions and the garden.).
Free entry for children < 26 years.
On the first Sunday of each month and during certain national events, access to the site is free for all after booking a ticket online on the museum website.