Muséum de Toulouse

Multiple view of bone Azilian harpoon head, from about 10,000 years ago

The Muséum de Toulouse, sometimes known as MHNT or Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle de la ville de Toulouse, is a museum of natural history in Toulouse, France. It is located in the Busca-Montplaisir, and houses a collection of more than 2.5 million items.


The museum was founded in 1796 by the naturalist Philippe-Isidore Picot de Lapeyrouse. It was at that time housed in the old buildings of the monastery of the carmelite friars. It was opened to the public in 1865 in its present location and under the directorship of Édouard Filhol. Toulouse museum was the first museum in the world to open a gallery of prehistory, thanks to the collaboration of Émile Cartailhac, Jean-Baptiste Noulet and Eugène Trutat. Today the museum is housed in a 2007 building designed by the architect Jean-Paul Viguier.

Permanent exhibitions

The permanent exhibition has 5 linked themes:

Nature of the solar system and its formation. Nature of the Earth - plate tectonics, seismic and volcanic activity and erosion, petrology and mineralogy.

The nature of life - biodiversity, classification and organization.

Earth history from 3.8 billion years ago. Introduces time, palaeontology and the evolution of life

The main functions of living beings - feeding, respiration, locomotion, reproduction, protection and communication.

The impact of human activity- demographic pressure on ecosystems and natural resources


In this section, we present examples to illustrate the content of each different collection of the Museum de Toulouse.


The prehistoric collection includes mostly artefacts excavated in France. They also contain comparative material from other parts of Europe and other continents. Notable collectors include Édouard Harlé (1850–1922), Antoine Meillet (1866- 1936), Alexis Damour (1808–1902), Félix Regnault (1847-1908), Louis Péringuey (1855-1924), Émile Cartailhac (1845-1921), Daniel Bugnicourt, Edward John Dunn (1844-1937), Henri Breuil (1877-1961) and Louis Lartet (1840–1899) as well as the curators Jean-Baptiste Noulet (1802-1890), Eugène Trutat (1840 -1910) and Édouard Filhol (1814-1883).










The specimens of the collection of paleontology amount to tens of thousands. They date from the Paleoarchean to the Eocene.



The Henri Gaussen Botanical Garden

Jardin Henri Gaussen in winter

Henri Gaussen was a Toulouse-based phytogeographer and botanist. The botanic garden which honours his name is attached to the Museum and is part of the Earth and Life Science Research and Training Paul Sabatier University. A second botanical area The Museum Gardens extends over 3 hectares. It is notable for "potagers du monde" (vegetable gardens of the world) and a shade house which recreates the conditions required by shade plants.


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