France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Tour de Nesle
The Tour de Nesle or Nesle's Tower was one of the four large guard towers on the old city wall of Paris, constructed at the beginning of the 13th century by Philip II of France and demolished in 1665. The tower was situated on the left bank of the Seine facing the old castle of the Louvre on the opposite bank. Known as the Tour Hamelin, it was a cylindrical structure of 10 metres in diameter; the height was around 25 metres, with a stair turret reaching higher still. The tower was incorporated into the Hôtel de Nesle, a medieval mansion. On the right bank of the Seine river, was a similar tall tower: the Tour du Coin; the towers protected the upstream approach into the city towards the Île de la Cité. In 1308, Philip IV bought the tower from Amaury de Nesle. In 1319, Philip V donated the building to his Queen Jeanne de Bourgogne and she in her will, left it for the College of Burgundy which she founded for the University of Paris. Demolished in 1665, mansion and tower became the place of the Collège des Quatre-Nations with the Bibliothèque Mazarine.
In the 19th century, Alexandre Dumas wrote the celebrated romance La Tour de Nesle, in which he portrayed the place as a theatre of orgy and the place of murder of the Queen of France at the beginning of the 14th century. His story is based on the fifteenth century legend known as the Tour de Nesle Affair, centering on actual events that took place in 1314 where the daughters-in-law of Philip IV were accused of adultery, their alleged lovers tortured and executed. Lorentz, Phillipe. Atlas de Paris au Moyen Âge. Paris: Parigramme. Pp. 238 pp. ISBN 2-84096-402-3. Imago Mundi - Tour de Nesle. Scandale de la Tour de Nesle
The Gare Saint-Lazare Paris-Saint-Lazare, is one of the six large terminus railway stations of Paris. It serves train services toward Normandy, northwest of Paris, along the Paris–Le Havre railway. Saint-Lazare is the second busiest station in Paris, after the Gare du Nord, it handles 275,000 passengers each day. The station was designed by architect Juste Lisch, the maître de l'oeuvre was Eugene Flachat; the first station at St Lazare was 200 m north-west of its current position, called Embarcadère des Batignolles. The station was opened by Marie-Amélie on 24 August 1837; the first line served was the single track line to Le Pecq. In 1843 St-Lazare was the terminus for three lines; the station had 14 platforms in 1854 after several enlargements, now has 27 platforms sorted in six destination groups. On 27 April 1924 the inner suburban lines were electrified with 750 V third rail; the same lines were re-electrified at 25 kV overhead wires in the 1960s. On 21 March 2012, a new three-level shopping mall with 80 shops opened inside the passenger hall.
The Gare Saint-Lazare is situated in the 8th arrondissement, in a dense business and shopping area of Paris. The Gare Saint-Lazare has been represented in a number of artworks, it attracted artists during the Impressionist period and many of them lived close to the Gare St-Lazare during the 1870s and 1880s. Édouard Manet lived close at 4 rue de Saint-Pétersbourg. Two years after moving to the area he showed his painting The Railway, at the Paris Salon in 1874. Painted from the backyard of a friend's house on the nearby rue de Rome, this canvas, now in the National Gallery of Art at Washington D. C. portrays a woman with a book as she sits facing us in front of an iron fence. At the time of its first exhibition it was caricatured and the subject of ridicule. Gustave Caillebotte lived just a short walk away from the station, he painted Le Pont de l’Europe in 1876 and On the Pont de l'Europe in 1876-80. While the former picture looks across the bridge with the ironworks diagonally crossing the picture to the right, with a scene of interacting figures on the bridge to the left, the latter depicts the iron structure of the bridge face-on in a strong close-up of its industrial geometry, with three male figures to the left side of the painting all looking in different directions.
In 1877, painter Claude Monet rented a studio near the Gare Saint Lazare. That same year he exhibited seven paintings of the railway station in an impressionist painting exhibition, he completed 11 paintings of this subject. Oscar-Claude Monet's series of the Gare Saint-Lazare train station was one of his most famous series in his lifetime. Monet was one of the most important and influential painters in the Impressionist movement in the 19th century, he was a strong proponent of plein-air landscape painting. Artists such as Gustave Caillebotte, Edgar Degas and Berthe Morisot, do this in order to portray the scene in the moment instead of creating the painting from what they could remember. Monet and others who followed the Impressionism Movement were not accepted in the Salon de Paris, because of their rejection of the academies’ teachings of form, subject matter etc. so instead they decided to open a new exhibition on their own Impressionist Exhibition in April 1874. Claude Monet's depiction of this train station is an astonishing composition in which the hard-edged discs of the railroad signals hover above a scribbled swirl of blue and rose clouds of steam, with scrolled white edges, while the sketchy, angular drawing of the tracks and buildings provides contrast.
The flat, opaque circle of the largest signal, placed dead center and thickly painted, is so insistent that it turns the picture into a near-abstraction. The Gare Saint-Lazare piece was shown at the Third Impressionist Exhibition; the Gare Saint-Lazare is far different than Monet's previous paintings of harbors and oceans that viewers had seen before. The Gare Saint-Lazare series of paintings lead the viewers through a tour of the train station in different points of the day. “Monet exemplifies the modern life, in all its chaos and instability,” The steam coming from the trains creates a way of dissolving the train and showing the impressionistic style of blending colors and light. Everything turns into a flurry of blended colors; as said by Émile Zola, “Monet is able to turn a dirty and gritty place into a peaceful and beautiful scene…You can hear the trains rumbling in, see the smoke billow up under the huge roofs…that is where painting is today…our artists have to find the poetry in train station, the way their fathers found the poetry in forests and rivers.”
“Monet’s work on the Gare Saint-Lazare is unparalleled in its evocation of steam and the smoke-filled station. In spite of the impressionist style, the work reproduces the topography of the area allowing one to deduce the precise point where the artist was standing while painting; this is the first time an artist had showed a single theme through a series of variations” The Gare Saint-Lazare itself, a monument to the last word in state-of-the-art transportation, the railroad. Le Quartier de l'Europe, where artists like Claude Monet and Gustave Caillebotte spent a lot of time and painted was, in short, a paradigm of mo
Académie royale d'architecture
The Académie Royale d'Architecture, founded in 1671, was a French learned society, which had a leading role in influencing architectural theory and education, not only in France, but throughout Europe and the Americas from the late 17th century to the mid-20th. The Académie Royale d'Architecture was founded on December 30, 1671, by Louis XIV, king of France under the impulsion of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, its first director was the mathematician and engineer François Blondel, the secretary was André Félibien. The academy was housed in the Louvre for most of its existence, included a school of architecture, its members met weekly. Jacques-François Blondel describes the academy quarters in his Architecture françoise of 1756; the main rooms were on the ground floor and included two lecture halls, one for meetings of the academy members on Mondays and mathematics lectures on Wednesdays, another for public lectures on architecture on Mondays. There was a large room for the display of architectural models.
The rooms for the secretary of the academy were in the mezzanine level, reached via the staircase. The academy quarters were temporarily roofed at the level of the main floor, since much of the Louvre still lacked a roof at the level of the attic; the attic roof was added under Napoleon. The Académie d'Architecture was suppressed in 1793, but revived and merged in 1816 into the Académie des Beaux-Arts, together with the Académie de Peinture et de Sculpture and the Académie de Musique. In addition, the traditions of the Académie d'Architecture were maintained and spread by the architecture section of the École des Beaux-Arts up to 1968, when the French government reorganized architectural education; the Académie des Beaux-Arts is now one of the five academies of the Institut de France. From 1720 to 1968, the Académie Royale d'Architecture and its successors held annual competitions for the Grand Prix de Rome in architecture; the winner was required to study for several years at the Académie de France in Rome.
In 1763 Jacques-François Blondel established less ambitious monthly competitions, which encouraged students to devote more time to their school work during their time in their supervisor's studios. The eight initial members were François Blondel. Subsequent edicts of the crown increased the membership. By 1793 there were 33 members, divided into two classes, plus a third consisting of correspondents living in the French provinces and in foreign countries. Members included: Claude Perrault, elected member 1673 Jules Hardouin-Mansart, elected member 1675 André Le Nôtre ), elected member 1681 Pierre Bullet, elected member 1685 Philippe de La Hire, elected member and professor 1687 Robert de Cotte, elected member 1687, director 1687 or 1699 Antoine Desgodetz, elected member 1698, second class 1699, first class 1718, professor 1719 Jacques Gabriel, elected member 1699, director 1736 Ange-Jacques Gabriel, elected member 1728, director 1743 Jacques-François Blondel, elected second-class member 1755, professor 1762 Antoine Matthieu Le Carpentier, elected member 1756 Étienne-Louis Boullée, elected second-class member 1762, promoted to first-class 1780 Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, elected second-class member 1773 Richard Mique, elected member 1775, director 1783 From 1911 to 1929, the French art historian Henry Lemonnier published the proceedings of the Academy in ten volumes with the title Procès-verbaux de l'Académie royale d'architecture 1671–1793: Vol. 1 Vol. 2 Vol. 3 Vol. 4 Vol. 5 Vol. 6 Vol. 7 Vol. 8 Vol. 9 Vol. 10 Architecture of Paris French art salons and academies Blondel, Jacques-François.
Architecture françoise, vol. 4, book 6. Paris: Charles-Antoine Jombert. Copy at Gallica. Cleary, Richard. "Paris, VI. Institutions, 2. Académie Royale d'Architecture", vol. 24, pp. 169–171, in The Dictionary of Art, 34 volumes, edited by Jane Turner. New York: Grove. ISBN 9781884446009. Available at Oxford Art Online. Le Bas, editor. France. Dictionnaire encyclopédique, volume 1. Paris: Didot Frères. See the article "Académie d'architecture", pp. 82–85. Lemonnier, Henry. Procès-verbaux de l'académie royale d'architecture. Tome X: Table générale. Paris: Armand Colin. OCLC 491723214. Copy at Internet Archive
French Academy of Sciences
The French Academy of Sciences is a learned society, founded in 1666 by Louis XIV at the suggestion of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, to encourage and protect the spirit of French scientific research. It was at the forefront of scientific developments in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, is one of the earliest Academies of Sciences. Headed by Sébastien Candel, it is one of the five Academies of the Institut de France; the Academy of Sciences traces its origin to Colbert's plan to create a general academy. He chose a small group of scholars who met on 22 December 1666 in the King's library, thereafter held twice-weekly working meetings there; the first 30 years of the Academy's existence were informal, since no statutes had as yet been laid down for the institution. In contrast to its British counterpart, the Academy was founded as an organ of government; the Academy was expected to remain apolitical, to avoid discussion of religious and social issues. On 20 January 1699, Louis XIV gave the Company its first rules.
The Academy was installed in the Louvre in Paris. Following this reform, the Academy began publishing a volume each year with information on all the work done by its members and obituaries for members who had died; this reform codified the method by which members of the Academy could receive pensions for their work. On 8 August 1793, the National Convention abolished all the academies. On 22 August 1795, a National Institute of Sciences and Arts was put in place, bringing together the old academies of the sciences and arts, among them the Académie française and the Académie des sciences. All the old members of the abolished Académie were formally re-elected and retook their ancient seats. Among the exceptions was Dominique, comte de Cassini, who refused to take his seat. Membership in the Academy was not restricted to scientists: in 1798 Napoleon Bonaparte was elected a member of the Academy and three years a president in connection with his Egyptian expedition, which had a scientific component.
In 1816, the again renamed "Royal Academy of Sciences" became autonomous, while forming part of the Institute of France. In the Second Republic, the name returned to Académie des sciences. During this period, the Academy was funded by and accountable to the Ministry of Public Instruction; the Academy came to control French patent laws in the course of the eighteenth century, acting as the liaison of artisans' knowledge to the public domain. As a result, academicians dominated technological activities in France; the Academy proceedings were published under the name Comptes rendus de l'Académie des Sciences. The Comptes rendus is now a journal series with seven titles; the publications can be found on site of the French National Library. In 1818 the French Academy of Sciences launched a competition to explain the properties of light; the civil engineer Augustin-Jean Fresnel entered this competition by submitting a new wave theory of light. Siméon Denis Poisson, one of the members of the judging committee, studied Fresnel's theory in detail.
Being a supporter of the particle-theory of light, he looked for a way to disprove it. Poisson thought that he had found a flaw when he demonstrate that Fresnel's theory predicts that an on-axis bright spot would exist in the shadow of a circular obstacle, where there should be complete darkness according to the particle-theory of light; the Poisson spot is not observed in every-day situations, so it was only natural for Poisson to interpret it as an absurd result and that it should disprove Fresnel's theory. However, the head of the committee, Dominique-François-Jean Arago, who incidentally became Prime Minister of France, decided to perform the experiment in more detail, he molded a 2-mm metallic disk to a glass plate with wax. To everyone's surprise he succeeded in observing the predicted spot, which convinced most scientists of the wave-nature of light. For three centuries women were not allowed as members of the Academy; this meant that many women scientists were excluded, including two-time Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie, Nobel winner Irène Joliot-Curie, mathematician Sophie Germain, many other deserving women scientists.
The first woman admitted as a correspondent member was a student of Curie's, Marguerite Perey, in 1962. The first female full member was Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat in 1979. Today the Academy is one of five academies comprising the Institut de France, its members are elected for life. There are 150 full members, 300 corresponding members, 120 foreign associates, they are divided into two scientific groups: the Mathematical and Physical sciences and their applications and the Chemical, Biological and Medical sciences and their applications. Each year, the Academy of Sciences distributes about 80 prizes; these include: the Grande Médaille, awarded annually, in rotation, in the relevant disciplines of each division of the Academy, to a French or foreign scholar who has contributed to the development of science in a decisive way. The Lalande Prize, awarded from 1802 through 1970, for outstanding achievement in astronomy the Valz Prize, awarded from 1877 through 1970, to honor advances in astronomy the Richard Lounsbery Award, jointly with the National Academy of Sciences the Prix Jacques Herbrand, for mathematics and physics the Prix Paul Pascal, for chemistry the Louis Bachelier Prize for major contributions to mathematical modeling in finance the Prix Michel Montpetit for computer science and applied mathematics, awarded since 1977 the Leconte Prize, awarded annually since 1886, to recognize important discoveries in
The Académie française is the pre-eminent French council for matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution, it was restored as a division of the Institut de France in 1803 by Napoleon Bonaparte, it is the oldest of the five académies of the institute. The Académie consists of forty members, known informally as les immortels. New members are elected by the members of the Académie itself. Academicians hold office for life. Philippe Pétain, named Marshal of France after the victory of Verdun of World War I, was elected to the Academy in 1931 and, after his governorship of Vichy France in World War II, was forced to resign his seat in 1945; the body has the task of acting as an official authority on the language. Its rulings, are only advisory, not binding on either the public or the government; the Académie had its origins in an informal literary group deriving from the salons held at the Hôtel de Rambouillet during the late 1620s and early 1630s.
The group began meeting at Valentin Conrart's house. There were nine members. Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister of France, made himself protector of the group, in anticipation of the formal creation of the academy, new members were appointed in 1634. On 22 February 1635, at Richelieu's urging, King Louis XIII granted letters patent formally establishing the council; the Académie française has remained responsible for the regulation of French grammar and literature. Richelieu's model, the first academy devoted to eliminating the "impurities" of a language, was the Accademia della Crusca, founded in Florence in 1582, which formalized the dominant position of the Tuscan dialect of Florence as the model for Italian. During the French Revolution, the National Convention suppressed all royal academies, including the Académie française. In 1792, the election of new members to replace those who died was prohibited, they were all replaced in 1795 by a single body called the Institut de France, or Institute of France.
Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul, decided to restore the former academies, but only as "classes" or divisions of the Institut de France. The second class of the Institut was responsible for the French language, corresponded to the former Académie française; when King Louis XVIII came to the throne in 1816, each class regained the title of "Académie". Since 1816, the existence of the Académie française has been uninterrupted; the President of France is patron of the Académie. Cardinal Richelieu adopted this role. King Louis XIV adopted the function when Séguier died in 1672. From 1672 to 1805, the official meetings of the Académie were in the Louvre; the remaining academies of the Institut de France meet in the Palais de l'Institut. The Académie française has forty seats, each of, assigned a separate number. Candidates make their applications for a specific seat, not to the Académie in general: if several seats are vacant, a candidate may apply separately for each. Since a newly elected member is required to eulogize his or her predecessor in the installation ceremony, it is not uncommon that potential candidates refuse to apply for particular seats because they dislike the predecessors.
Members are known as les Immortels because of the motto, À l'immortalité, on the official seal of the charter granted by Cardinal Richelieu. One of the Immortels is chosen by her colleagues to be the Académie's Perpetual Secretary; the Secretary is called "Perpetual" because the holder serves for life, although he or she may resign, may thereafter be styled as Honorary Perpetual Secretary. The Perpetual Secretary acts as a chief representative of the Académie; the two other officers, a Director and a Chancellor, are elected for three-month terms. The most senior member, by date of election, is the Dean of the Académie. New members are elected by the Académie itself; when a seat becomes vacant, a person may apply to the Secretary if she or he wishes to become a candidate. Alternatively, existing members may nominate other candidates. A candidate is elected by a majority of votes from voting members. A quorum is twenty members. If no candidate receives an absolute majority, another election must be performed at a date.
The election is valid only if the protector of the Académie, the President of France, grants his approval. The President's approbation, however, is only a formality. (There was a controversy about the candidacy of Paul Morand, whom Charles de Gaulle opposed in 1958. Morand was elected ten years and he was received without the customary visit, at the time of inve
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of artistic, historical, or scientific importance. Many public museums make these items available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary; the largest museums are located in major cities throughout the world, while thousands of local museums exist in smaller cities and rural areas. Museums have varying aims, ranging from serving researchers and specialists to serving the general public; the goal of serving researchers is shifting to serving the general public. There are many types of museums, including art museums, natural history museums, science museums, war museums, children's museums. Amongst the world's largest and most visited museums are the Louvre in Paris, the National Museum of China in Beijing, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C. the British Museum and National Gallery in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and Vatican Museums in Vatican City.
According to The World Museum Community, there are more than 55,000 museums in 202 countries. The English "museum" comes from the Latin word, is pluralized as "museums", it is from the Ancient Greek Μουσεῖον, which denotes a place or temple dedicated to the Muses, hence a building set apart for study and the arts the Musaeum for philosophy and research at Alexandria by Ptolemy I Soter about 280 BC. The purpose of modern museums is to collect, preserve and display items of artistic, cultural, or scientific significance for the education of the public. From a visitor or community perspective, the purpose can depend on one's point of view. A trip to a local history museum or large city art museum can be an entertaining and enlightening way to spend the day. To city leaders, a healthy museum community can be seen as a gauge of the economic health of a city, a way to increase the sophistication of its inhabitants. To a museum professional, a museum might be seen as a way to educate the public about the museum's mission, such as civil rights or environmentalism.
Museums are, above all, storehouses of knowledge. In 1829, James Smithson's bequest, that would fund the Smithsonian Institution, stated he wanted to establish an institution "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge."Museums of natural history in the late 19th century exemplified the Victorian desire for consumption and for order. Gathering all examples of each classification of a field of knowledge for research and for display was the purpose; as American colleges grew in the 19th century, they developed their own natural history collections for the use of their students. By the last quarter of the 19th century, the scientific research in the universities was shifting toward biological research on a cellular level, cutting edge research moved from museums to university laboratories. While many large museums, such as the Smithsonian Institution, are still respected as research centers, research is no longer a main purpose of most museums. While there is an ongoing debate about the purposes of interpretation of a museum's collection, there has been a consistent mission to protect and preserve artifacts for future generations.
Much care and expense is invested in preservation efforts to retard decomposition in aging documents, artifacts and buildings. All museums display objects; as historian Steven Conn writes, "To see the thing itself, with one's own eyes and in a public place, surrounded by other people having some version of the same experience can be enchanting."Museum purposes vary from institution to institution. Some favor education over conservation, or vice versa. For example, in the 1970s, the Canada Science and Technology Museum favored education over preservation of their objects, they displayed objects as well as their functions. One exhibit featured a historic printing press that a staff member used for visitors to create museum memorabilia; some seek to reach a wide audience, such as a national or state museum, while some museums have specific audiences, like the LDS Church History Museum or local history organizations. Speaking, museums collect objects of significance that comply with their mission statement for conservation and display.
Although most museums do not allow physical contact with the associated artifacts, there are some that are interactive and encourage a more hands-on approach. In 2009, Hampton Court Palace, palace of Henry VIII, opened the council room to the general public to create an interactive environment for visitors. Rather than allowing visitors to handle 500-year-old objects, the museum created replicas, as well as replica costumes; the daily activities, historic clothing, temperature changes immerse the visitor in a slice of what Tudor life may have been. This section lists the 20 most visited museums in 2015 as compiled by AECOM and the Themed Entertainment Association's annual report on the world's most visited attractions. For 2016 figures see List of most visited museums; the cities of London and Washington, D. C. contain more of the 20 most visited museums in the world than any others, with six museums and four museums, respectively. Early museums began as the private collections of wealthy individuals, families or institutions of art and rare or curious natural objects and artifacts.
These were displayed in so-called wonder rooms or cabinets of curiosities. One of the oldest museums known is Ennigaldi-Nanna's museum, built by Princess Ennigaldi at the end of the Neo-Babylonian Empire; the site dates from c. 530 BCE, contained artifacts from earlier M