In order to strengthen its areas of excellence, but also to fill in the gaps, every year the Musée de l’Armée makes between 20 and 40 acquisitions, against payment or otherwise, which represent several hundred objects. These are private donations, particularly for the contemporary era, purchases at public auctions or from merchants, transfers from organisations under the authority of the French Ministry of Armed Forces, and less frequently bequests or acceptance in lieu.
Just like the collections of the Musée de l’Armée, the pieces acquired are extremely varied: uniforms, objects of the everyday life belonging to combatants and civilians in times of conflict, knives, firearms, artillery pieces and equipment, emblems, decorations, paintings, drawings, photographs, engravings, posters, etc. The Musée de l’Armée strives to cover an extremely broad chronological spectrum, from prehistoric times and antiquity to the most recent conflicts. These choices include military operations, as well their procedures, the sequence of events, their impact and representation in society.
A rigorous procedure for entering the collections
Acquisition files are compiled by the scientific teams of the Musée de l’Armée, based on their periods and fields of expertise. They are then presented and discussed collectively during monthly conservation committee meetings. This committee decides whether the acquisition is relevant, and if it is validated by the director of the Musée de l’Armée, it is then presented for an advisory opinion to the scientific commission for museum acquisitions and enrichment of the French Ministry of Armed Forces, which meets three to four times a year. It is only at the end of this process that the object which is the subject of the proposed acquisition is given an inventory number and is officially entered into the national public collections. It thereby becomes inalienable, exempt from seizure and imprescriptible.
A focus laid on the contemporary military heritage
By 2025 the Musée de l’Armée wants to offer three new permanent circuits to its visitors: the history of colonisation and decolonisation, from the 16th century to the 1960s; post-1945 and the Cold War to the period following the fall of the “Iron Curtain”; developments on the engagements of France and its armies nowadays. Its acquisition policy is therefore particularly geared towards contemporary conflicts (Algerian War, First Indochina War, Yugoslav Wars, Afghanistan, Gulf War, Mali, etc.). Every proposal to donate objects is therefore carefully examined by the scientific teams of the Musée de l’Armée.