New World Museum

Presentation of the museum

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Presentation of the museum

The New World Museum was created and inaugurated in 1982 by Michel Crépeau; the mayor of La Rochelle at the time. The museum is located in a private mansion of the XVIIIth century, The “Hôtel Fleuriau”, named after the family who lived there from 1772 to 1974.

The townhouse was built between 1740 and 1750 by Jean Regnaud de Beaulieu; he was inspired by the Parisian trend (the central body was surrounded by two wings which enclosed the court with a large portal).

This residence was bought in 1772 by Aimé Benjamin Fleuriau (1709 - 1787), whose wealth came from his plantation in the colony of Santo Domingo.

A few years later, around 1780, through the acquisition of a plot overlooking the side street, the “Hôtel Fleuriau” was enlarged with a new construction next to the old building, communicating internally through doors in each half floor and connected to the garden.

This museum dedicated to the relationships between France and America, was recognized for its originality and for its approach to this part of our history, not very explored at the time. It was the first one to show the slave past of a French port and to expose elements related to slave trade and slavery in the colonies of the Antilles.

With the different acquisitions since its creation, the museum tries to present an American continent discovered and explored by the ancient Europe as well as a dynamic and commercial city, enriched economically and culturally by the new continent.

Paintings, drawings, engravings, ancient maps, objects of decorative art and photography evoking Brazil, Canada or Louisiana, are displayed on this wonderful place of “Rocaille” and neoclassic style. Temporary exhibitions and contemporary creations give life to this place with a scientific, cultural and dynamic policy engaged with the preservation of its original idea and with the authenticity of the museum.

 

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