Astronomy CollectionsThe astronomy collection of the University of Montpellier includes about 200 objects, 56 of which are classified as Historic Monuments. It is of great interest to the heritage and illustrates the technical and scientific evolution of instruments from the 18th to the 20th century.

The first instruments came from the Royal Society of Sciences and were put on deposit by the city of Montpellier in 1811. These instruments enabled students to carry out observations and manipulations during practical work. These courses were held in emblematic places in the city, such as the Babote tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Jardin des Plantes observatory, and required the use of quarter circles, precision clocks, telescopes, spectacles, etc.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the Faculty of Science continued to acquire instruments to meet modern teaching and research needs, such as the observation apparatus used for artificial comet experiments in the 1960s.

Botanical collectionThe Montpellier University Herbarium (MPU) is, by its volume and the quality of its collections, the 2nd largest collection of the Montpellier University Herbarium.ème herbarium in France after that of the Paris Museum. A research tool as well as a heritage collection, it contains approximately 3.5 million specimens of vascular plants, algae, mosses and dried fungi. It also includes more atypical collections (droguier, xylotheque, etc.) as well as documentary collections related to the specimens (handwritten notes by botanists and researchers, scientific iconography such as the botanical watercolours produced by T.F. Node-Véran and classified as Historic Monuments in 2010). The oldest specimens date back to the 16th century and each year new collections and acquisitions enrich this collection.

In addition to these collections, there are the collections of biological material of the Centre de Bio-Archéologie et d'Ecologie (CBAE) as well as those of the Institut de Sciences de l'Évolution de Montpellier (ISE-M), which manages one of the world's largest collections of pollen slides.

Wooden fan - University of MontpellierThe ethnology collection of the University of Montpellier brings together objects from all over the world and bears witness to the diversity and plurality of different cultures, in particular Kanak, Papuan and Maori.

This heritage collection includes more than 130 pieces acquired in the 19th century. It comes from various regions of the world such as Oceania, Asia, South America and North Africa. It was mainly collected by the naval officer Auguste Bérard during three voyages of exploration around the world between 1810 and 1840. The collection includes bone and shell ornaments, wooden sculptures, weapons, musical instruments and furniture. It was registered as a Historic Monument in 2009.

Another original feature of this collection is the presence of fragments of Egyptian mummies, in particular feet, hands, some bones, several skulls and the body of an embalmed child.

Glass plate from the Fonds Flahaut, BIU Science section, MontpellierThe "Charles Flahault" photo library contains more than 2,000 digitised glass plate and paper photographs from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

This collection was assembled by the botanist Charles Flahault (1852-1935), professor at the Faculty of Science and director of the Montpellier Botany Institute from 1883 to 1927. These photographs were taken during scientific work aimed at studying the evolution of landscapes and vegetation. Many of the photographs are signed by Charles Flahault's collaborators, such as Johannes Lagarde (1866-1934). Family photographs from the Emberger collection, descendants of Charles Flahault, have been added to this collection.

The inventory and digitisation of this collection are the result of a partnership between the Montpellier Interuniversity Library (Photographic Workshop, Science Library) and the association "Présence de Charles Flahault". The collection is kept by the BU sciences and the Service Patrimoine historique de l'Université de Montpellier.

Minerals donated by J. Curie - University of MontpellierWhen it was created in 1809, the Faculty of Sciences of Montpellier was the only one, along with the Faculty of Paris, to have a chair of mineralogy. In order to illustrate the first courses, the city of Montpellier made a deposit of mineral samples from revolutionary seizures in 1811. The collections continued to grow throughout the century thanks to donations and purchases by professors, but also thanks to exchanges with various institutions. Students were also involved in collecting samples during practical fieldwork. All these steps have made it possible to gather a large collection representative of the deposits in the Languedoc-Roussillon region and more widely in France.

Today, the mineralogy collection consists of about 2,500 samples as well as teaching materials such as wooden mineralogical models. The collection is constantly growing thanks to numerous donations from individuals.

Leenhardt HerbalismThe University of Montpellier is heir to a rich collection of furniture and works of art displaying its remarkable historical past.

Paintings and sculptures: nearly 300 paintings and sculptures bear witness to the great events and characters that have marked the history of the university. Among them are more than 260 painted portraits of professors protected as Historic Monuments, as well as busts and ornamental paintings.

Furniture: the university keeps old furniture used to display and store the collections. It also holds 19th century furniture from the former bishopric of Montpellier.

Works of art: the two ceremonial maces of the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Science are among the university's emblematic objects. The one from the Faculty of Medicine, known as the Baton d'Esculape, was made by the goldsmith Jean-Baptiste-Claude Odiot in 1804, while the one from the Faculty of Science was made by the goldsmith Placide Boué in 1819. Like the university gowns, they are used for official ceremonies.

Paleontology CollectionThe origins of the University of Montpellier's palaeontology collection date back to the creation of the Montpellier Faculty of Sciences in 1809. This discipline, dedicated to the study of extinct life forms and their evolution over geological time, was attached to the chair of mineralogy and geology.

The first palaeontological collections were acquired thanks to a deposit from the city of Montpellier in 1811. They were subsequently enriched by donations, legacies and purchases. They also include material from excavations carried out in the region since the 19th century, many of whose specimens are international references with around 10,000 type specimens.

Today, the fossil collections include thousands of footprints, vertebrates, invertebrates, charophytes, plants and pollens.

These collections are managed by the Institut des Sciences de l'Évolution de Montpellier (ISE-M). They remain a support for teaching and for international research work.

PATSTEC CollectionsThis collection is part of the PATSTEC (PATrimoine Scientifique et TEchnique Contemporain) safeguarding mission, supported by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and by the Musée des arts et métiers/CNAM. It consists of making an inventory of instruments that bear witness to the technical advances of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The diversity and modernity of the objects that make up this collection make it remarkable. Computer equipment, teaching boards, microscopes, photomultipliers, etc. are just a few examples of this collection, which is enriched by 150 items each year.

Coming from donations from laboratories, private companies and individuals, these instruments are inventoried in order to highlight the fields of research carried out in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. The mission is particularly concerned with identifying and safeguarding material related to health, botany and transdisciplinary fields such as photography, microscopy and educational material.

Physics Collection The physics collection of the University of Montpellier is representative of the history of teaching, science and technology in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Some of the instruments in this collection were acquired by university professors in the early 19th century for didactic or applied purposes, for demonstrations and scientific research. Another part of this collection comes from revolutionary seizures put on deposit by the municipality of Montpellier in 1811. According to the archives, the teaching of physics in Montpellier covered a wide range of subjects such as the movement of stars, optics, acoustics, electricity, the analysis of matter and physics applied to the human body.

More than 300 instruments bear witness to the evolution of teaching and practice over the last few centuries. The great instrument makers are represented, including such great names as Pixii, Ducretet, Secrétan and Beaudouin.

 The zoology collection of the University of Montpellier consists of more than 40,000 specimens with different conservation methods. In addition to the collections of naturalized animals (birds, mammals, fish, reptiles), it also houses numerous unmounted specimens in skin, others preserved in fluid (vertebrates and invertebrates), several thousand shell molluscs, corals, an important collection of mounted skeletons and entomological specimens.

These collections are the result of donations, exchanges, bequests or purchases between individuals or institutions such as the National Museum of Natural History, made from the beginning of the 19th century. They are used in the teaching of animal biology and comparative anatomy at the Faculty of Science and the Higher School of Pharmacy.

Even today, they are an excellent teaching tool and constitute remarkable collections for research, especially for disciplines such as molecular biology and phylogeny.

The 1% art scheme was created in 1951 in order to support contemporary creation, raise public awareness of art and offer as many people as possible direct contact with works of contemporary art, outside specialised institutions.

This approach provides for the allocation of 1% of the cost of construction, extension or rehabilitation work on certain public buildings to the creation of one or more works of art designed for the place where they are located.

Most of the works produced on the Triolet campus are in the "Op Art" style, also known as optical art. This movement corresponds to an artistic practice, developed since the 1960s, which exploits the fallibility of the eye through optical illusions. Op Art works are generally abstract and give the impression of movement, light and vibration. These visual stimuli place the viewer's body in an unstable situation, between pleasure and displeasure, immersed in a sensation of vertigo close to certain states of mild intoxication.

Download the culture and scientific heritage programme

Visit the "Collections" gallery


Institute of Botany
163 rue Auguste Broussonnet
34090 Montpellier
Tel: +33 (0)4 99 23 21 88
Fax: +33 (0)4 67 41 37 50
Website - Twitter - Instagram