There are two places in the world that I have thus far felt have created a particularly overwhelming positive public presentation of the ocean sciences and related exploration. First is the Hall of Ocean Life in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and second is the Musée Océanographique in Monaco France, which I was so fortunate to have briefly visited not too long ago.
The Museum is rich in maritime and ocean science history, having been founded by Monaco’s Prince Albert I in the 1800’s, who is considered a founding father in the field of oceanography. Just one century later, the Museum was directed by Jacques Cousteau. It doesn’t take much time meandering through Monaco to realize how the likes of Prince Albert and Cousteau realized such paradigm altering successes in the field – there is plenty of money to go around and support this type of work. Being a city by the sea, all of those visiting Monaco can find an appreciation for the life aquatic.
Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, the Museum has recently undergone renovations, and is just stunning. The lower floors include a small but extremely well curated Aquarium, with the upper levels dedicated to historical diving pieces, preserved specimens, and chronicles Prince Albert’s many expeditions.
The Museum is in a class unto itself, being far from a collection of tidal tanks where kids can pick up snails and shamoo jumps and does tricks…this place puts the ocean sciences up on the pedestal that they deserve, as just a scratch in the surface of a vast world that holds promise for us all – and is full of opportunity. Share