The documentary exhibition Rouget de Lisle and La Marseillaise was designed and produced by the Musée de l'Armée to commemorate the 180th anniversary of Rouget de Lisle's death in 1936. It is part of the cultural, scientific and educational season about La Marseillaise, organised by the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of National Education. The exhibition takes the form of twenty-two boards in the galleries of the main courtyard, telling the story of the song's creation, from the declaration of war on Austria in 1792 to the contemporary period.
The exhibition is based on two major themes: representations of La Marseillaise and Rouget de Lisle through the ages, and their use during the First World War. The exhibition also addresses the personality and military career of Rouget de Lisle, military music and revolutionary songs, orchestrations and interpretations of La Marseillaise, in particular those made during the Second World War, along with the tribute to the victims of the Paris terror attacks in 2015.
To put on this exhibition, the Musée de l'Armée drew on its own document archives and collections. Several partner institutions also contributed documents from their collections: the Establishment of Communication and Audiovisual Production of Defence (ECPAD), the Service Historique de la Défense (SGA/DMPA/SHD), the Bibliothèque de Documentation Internationale Contemporaine de l’Université de Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense (BDIC), the archive, documentation and heritage service in Choisy-Le-Roi, the Musée Rouget de Lisle in Lons-le-Saunier, and the documentation centre/photo library of the Museums of Strasbourg.