Outstanding collections and bequests
Sorbonne University is one of the few French universities to have preserved a large part of its scientific collections.
Its collections of zoology, palaeontology and palaeobotany, petrology and metallogeny, carefully assembled in the Sorbonne laboratories, continue to maintain close links with the research teams while having acquired, over the course of time, a strong reference to their heritage.
Not only materials to be studied, they are also essential sources for the history of the Faculty of Sciences, its domains, scientific practices, and teaching at the Sorbonne.
Dupuytren Pathological Anatomy Collection
Linked to the development of pathological anatomy, this anatomy collection was formed in 1835 thanks to a bequest from Guillaume Dupuytren, head of anatomical work of the Practical School of the Faculty of Medicine (1801) and creator of the Anatomical Society. The museum opened in November 1835 in the former Cordeliers convent, and brought together 1,500 pieces of pathological anatomy. Augmented by numerous contributions during the 20th century, notably from the Dejerine Foundation, the Dupuytren Museum closed its doors for good in 2016. The collections have been transferred to new, secure storage facilities on the Pierre and Marie Curie campus.
The collection now includes more than 10,000 bone pieces, anatomical fluid parts, histology slides, anatomical waxes and scientific instruments, as well as a large collection of documents.
The collection is accessible by reasoned request made to academic researchers, researchers, hospital practitioners and students.
Heir to the former zoological collection of the Sorbonne, this is an important collection of objects for educational purposes: fluid specimens, naturalisations, skeletons, anatomical montages, etc. It includes historical pieces, such as an elephant skull from the cabinet of Georges Cuvier, and remarkable sets such as the Frič collection of comparative anatomy (late 19th century).
Intended primarily for educational use, in 2016 it moved to a new space on the renovated Pierre and Marie Curie campus. Its exhibition room is currently being fitted out to facilitate the promotion of the collection to the University community while guaranteeing the conservation of specimens.
The collection is not accessible to the public.
The geoscience collections of Sorbonne University are intimately linked to the history of the Sorbonne's geology laboratory, created in 1857 by Edmond Hébert, a pioneer in palaeontology. Thanks to meticulous paleontological collections throughout Europe, Hébert increased the collections of the first holders of the chair of geology, presiding over the progressive constitution of one of the richest collections in France. The collections have continuously developed, as new laboratories in vertebrate palaeontology, palaeobotany, micropaleontology, applied geology, etc. have appeared at the Sorbonne.
Preserved on the Pierre and Marie Curie campus, the collections now include tens of thousands of specimens, divided into several sub-collections. A “typology library” houses typed and figured specimens belonging to the collections of Sorbonne University.
The collections are not accessible to the public. Requests for consultations or loans of material should be addressed to the Heritage section of the University Library.
A first collection of minerals was assembled in 1823 on the initiative of François Sulpice Beudant, then holder of the chair of mineralogy in the Faculty of Sciences, and gradually expanded throughout the 19th century.
However, unlike the other scientific collections of Sorbonne University, the current collection is more the result of donations and purchases made in the second half of the 20th century. Even today, with the support of the association of the Friends of the Minerals Collection of the Sorbonne (A.MI.S.), the collection is regularly enriched with new specimens.
Opened to the public in 1970, in early 2010 it moved to the exhibition spaces it still occupies, where some 1,500 specimens covering more than 500 different mineral species are on display.
The mineral collection is open to the public from Monday to Saturday, from 1 pm to 6 pm (except Tuesdays and public holidays). Access: 4 place Jussieu (patio 14-25, Saint Bernard level).
Founded in 1920 by Hellenist and archaeologist Pierre Jouguet, the Institute of Papyrology of Sorbonne University preserves an exceptional collection of papyrus dated from the 3rd century BC to the 8th century AD, mostly Greek but also Latin, Demotic, Coptic and Arabic.
n addition to the primitive collection of cardboard boxes of mummies brought back from Egypt by Jouguet, various purchases and, through donations and bequests, several collections, including those of Urbain Bouriant and Theodore Reinach, were added. Part of this collection is available online.
Access to the papyrology collections is subject to conditions.
The Charcot Library
The personal library and part of the archives of Jean-Martin Charcot—one of the greatest French clinicians and a pioneer in neurology, bequeathed by his son to the Assistance publique in 1906—are now part of the collections of the Charcot Library.
This collection, which includes several thousand books, but also the manuscripts of his works and his working notes (in particular the "practice notes" devoted to each of his patients, often enriched with drawings by his hand), constitutes a reference collection for the history of neurology and psychiatry. Part of the collection is accessible online.
The Charcot Library is open to the public from Monday to Friday, from 2pm to 6pm (excluding annual closures).
The INSPÉ de l'Académie de Paris has a remarkable collection of several dozen 19th century papier-mâché pedagogical models. Designed by Doctor Louis Auzoux, famous for the anatomical models he produced and distributed on a large scale, the pieces in this collection, the oldest of which date from 1844, represent mushrooms, flowers, brains or animal hearts.
Following its restoration in 2016, part of the collection, modelled in 3D, is accessible online.
The collection is not accessible to the public.