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Scan The World Interview with Director of the Mougins Museum
Through their partnerships with museums and other heritage institutions, Scan the World enables you and the community access to culture from across the globe where it may otherwise be inaccessible. This is most notable in times like these when travel is limited and institutions have been forced to close their doors to the public because of the international lockdown.
So, how can you enjoy the culture that museums and other such establishments have to offer? You can visit Scan The World, the museum that’s always open! Through democratised new technologies and techniques Scan the World is able to provide access to culture from behind closed doors.
The Mougins Museum is a private collection owned by Christian Levett, a philanthropist and collector of important art, who invited Scan The World to 3D scan cultural artefacts a few years ago.
We had a chance to catch-up with Leisa Paoli, Director of The Mougins Museum, to gain an insight into how the Scan The World initiative helped digitize their collections to enable open access to cultural artefacts and benefits institutions such as museums.
Tell us about The Mougins Museum and its history
The Musée d’Art Classique de Mougins (MACM) opened in June 2011.
The Mougins Museum is located in Mougins, one of the most picturesque villages in Provence and home to some of the greatest artists, as well as being a renowned culinary destination. Only 15 minutes from Cannes, the village of Mougins is a must-see destination nestled between sea and mountain on the Côte d’Azur.
Christian Levett chose this prestigious location to found a museum and share his extraordinary collection with the public.
Throughout the four floors of the museum, one can admire modern and contemporary artworks interspersed with Roman portrait statues and busts, Greek pottery and jewelry, Egyptian sarcophagi, reliefs and amulets.
The great masters of the 17th and 18th centuries interact with Picasso, Chagall, Braque, Matisse, Hirst, Gormley, Quinn... to name but a few.
The connections made between artworks and artists emphasize the influence of classical civilizations on the art world and give a new resonance to the works on display. Ancient civilizations, stories and myths provide an inspiring background to the visitor’s journey through the collection and the armory on the top floor is home to the world’s largest private collection of Graeco-Roman helmets and armor.
What will we find at your current and forthcoming exhibitions?
We are very much looking forward to re-opening the museum doors and welcoming our dearly missed visitors who can admire the juxtaposition of antiquities, néo-classical, modern & contemporary art that constitutes our permanent exhibition.
We are also very excited for our forthcoming temporary exhibition: “Jean Cocteau et Sa Mythologie” (Jean Cocteau and His Mythology)
This exhibition, in collaboration with the Musée Jean Cocteau collection Séverin Wunderman & the town of Menton, was due to open early April but due to the current situation has been postponed to a later date.
We hope to announce the new opening date as soon as possible.
The MACM will host artworks by the man who was once known as an aesthete, a dandy, one of the most fashionable figures in Paris & above all an immense multi-talented artist. Jean Cocteau had many strings to his bow; painter, draftsman, filmmaker, choreographer, playwright, poet, Knight of the Legion of Honour in 1949 and member of the French Academy in 1955.
Cocteau's passion for mythology is both present & celebrated on the French Riviera with his frescoes in Menton, Villefranche, Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat & Cap d'Ail. This exhibition at the MACM will place the eloquence of the myths & the creativity with which Jean Cocteau interpreted them at the heart of Christian Levett's collection.
Further information on https://www.mouginsmusee.com/en/exhibitions/forthcoming
Why have you decided to digitize the artefacts of the museum?
Since the opening of the museum, the MACM has embraced digital technology and the benefits it can bring to the museum experience as a whole.
The museum is equipped with interactive touch screens throughout the galleries, which provide additional information and enrich the visit for adults and children alike.
When Google launched its Cultural Institute in Paris, we became a participating museum partner in 2012 of Google Art Project, now known as Google Arts & Culture. One can see a selection of art and artefacts from the collection and visit the galleries via ‘museum street view’.
In 2017 we launched the application MACM4D - the interactive virtual museum. Thanks to this application, the visitor can enjoy the unique experience of the MACM with a virtual tour of exceptional quality – admiring the large array of artworks and 3D views of a selection of objects, zooming in on the smallest of details, created by the developer Navigator4D.
And last, but by no means least, we were happy to give Scan the World/My Mini Factory access to the Mougins Museum galleries in February 2017. With their state of the art technology, they were able to digitize numerous objects from the collection. This gave us the possibility to join the online library alongside some of the greatest museums worldwide.
We saw this opportunity as a natural evolution of the museum’s digital presence in this fast-moving and innovative 21st-century world!
What does the digitization of cultural heritage mean to you and The Mougins Museum?
Since day 1 we continually strive to make the Mougins Museum accessible to all, regardless of age, knowledge or social status. Everyone should have equal access to our cultural heritage – our being the keyword. The right to discover and explore our cultural heritage, whether it is immovable or unmovable, is a privilege that should belong to each and every one of us. Unfortunately for numerous different reasons and practicalities, this is not always the case.
Digitizing museum collections, historical monuments and even underwater discoveries, opens up a whole new realm of possibilities, which overcome some of the obstacles that certain individuals amongst us are faced with.
This ever-evolving digital technology brings the Mougins Museum collection to those who cannot come to the museum.
And in these challenging times that the world is enduring this applies to everybody at the moment!!
What does 3D scanning and 3D printing mean to the museum?
In addition to my previous answer, this is a fun, creative and informative means of sharing the MACM collection with people wherever they may be around the world.
The 3D print-outs of our artefacts are also a very useful resource to have in the museum itself for our educational visits. Touch is one of the senses we are often restricted from experiencing in a museum visit. Thanks to these 3D printed replicas, young children or sight-impaired visitors can overcome their frustration of this restriction.
What are your favorite artefacts scanned by Scan The World?
Oh, that’s difficult to answer, just as I find it almost impossible to name my favorite piece in the museum collection!
I do like the scan of Antoine Bourdelle’s bronze sculpture ‘Sapho’ – its nice to see the beautiful drapery of her dress as you move around the 3D scan.
But I guess my favorite is the Roman portrait of Emperor Caracalla – the scanned replica is very lifelike to the ancient marble sculpture and it captures the fierce expression of this tyrannical ruler.
What does the future hold for The Mougins Museum?
Well, we hope to continue to surprise our visitors daily with the unusual concept of the Mougins Museum.
The permanent exhibition is constantly evolving/rotating, so there is always something new to see for returning visitors.
The Jean Cocteau temporary exhibition will mark the resumption of our rich cultural and educational programme: monthly conferences, children & family activities, thematic visits and of course temporary exhibitions.
And our on-going loan programme will see artefacts and artworks going out on loan to exhibitions at museums, universities and cultural institutions around the world…