Museum of the History of Civilization

The Archaeological Museum of Morocco reopened after one year of restoration

17 JUNE 2017,
Museum of the History of Civilization, Rabat, rendering
Museum of the History of Civilization, Rabat, rendering

The Museum of the History of Civilization is finally ready to welcome visitors. The museum offers large panoply of archaeological pieces for art lovers, including the imposing bronzes of Volubilis. In order to facilitate the discovery, a new scenography was set up. This allowed to rationalize and to enhance the visit, and represents a pedagogical and thematic course summarizing the multi-year history of Morocco.

Visitors will thus be able to take a chronological tour of the history of Morocco from prehistory to the Islamic period, through a thematic route offering a focus dedicated to marble and antique bronze. Besides the permanent exhibition, visiting the place is a real diving in history. And for good reason, the nucleus of the building was built under French protectorate, in the years of 1920, in order to shelter the Department of Antiquities of the Protectorate. At the time, the excavations of Volubilis hardly began, and Lyautey was its promoter. After being presented in a museum located near the excavations, the documents of great archaeological and artistic values were transferred to Rabat. The administrative premises then housed, as a bonus, two exhibition rooms, and then an oval room dedicated to Roman bronzes.

In 1960, the so-called Museum of Pre-Islamic Antiquities was inaugurated by the Minister of National Education, Youth and Sports, and by the Rector of the University of Morocco and The Chief Curator of the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the Louvre. The museum offers its visitors a permanent exhibition. It is an exceptional archaeological collection showing the various civilizations settled in Morocco from prehistory to the Islamic period. After the reopening of the Museum of the Kasbah of Mediterranean cultures in Tangier last August, the former Archaeological Museum of Rabat opens its doors under the name of Museum of History and Civilizations. After 12 months of restoration and renovation work carried out by the National Museum Foundation, this museum aims to present the history of Morocco from prehistory to the Islamic period. To this end, it offers its visitors a permanent exhibition. It is an exceptional archaeological collection showing the various civilizations settled in Morocco from prehistory to the Islamic period.

The Museum of the History of Civilization offers various collections to art lovers

"This collection shows the human genius and its evolution through the history of Morocco," said Fatima Ezzahra Chbihi, curator of the museum and curator of the exhibition. The new scenography of the Museum of History and Civilizations mixes two paths. The first shows a chronological circuit that tells the history of Morocco from prehistory to the Islamic period. It offers visitors the geographical landmarks necessary for understanding the collection by situating the main Moroccan archaeological sites. As for the second course, it offers a specific focus dedicated to marble and antique bronze. It proposes the statuary in marble coming mainly from Volubilis and Banasa.

The aim of the Museum of History and Civilization of Rabat is to present, through the remains it contains, the history of Morocco from Prehistory to Islamic times. The museum presents a permanent exhibition devoted exclusively to the archaeological collections on a chronological route beginning with prehistory, then the Punic period, the Roman period and finally the Islamic period. During their visit, history buffs will have the opportunity to discover tools of prehistoric men, neolithic furniture, statuettes in bronze or marble of Roman deities or ceramics of the first cities of the Islamic era.

Next to its main objects is the bronze collection with the iconographic themes marking the legacy of ancient Morocco. Since 2014, the Museum of History and Civilization of Rabat, like 13 other Moroccan museums, is under the responsibility of the National Museum Foundation. Given its status as a national museum and its collections of international interest, it is one of the first projects undertaken by the National Foundation of Museum NFM, with the Museum of the Kasbah of Mediterranean cultures in Tangier. The main task is to undertake the restoration and modernization of the buildings, to coordinate better management and preservation of collections, to renew the CT scanning of permanent exhibitions and to establish a dynamic cultural program. During this year, the transformations of other museums will also be completed, such as the Al Batha Museum in Fez which will be dedicated to the arts of Islam and the Ceramic Museum of Safi.

The Museum of the History of Civilization has a deep history

The history of the museum's collections begins in 1915 with the launch of a series of archaeological excavations under the French Protectorate at the initiative of the famous General Lyautey. The most famous and richest of these excavations were those of the Roman site of Volubilis, under the direction of Louis Chatelain. The numerous discoveries of exceptional objects necessitated the organization of an antiquities service, which was officially created in 1918. As the administration of the antiquities department was based in Rabat, in a brand new building (built in the 1920s), it was decided in 1930 to transfer the objects of Volubilis to Rabat, in order to create an archaeological large-scale museum in the center of the capital. The exhibition halls were built around the administrative building, and the museum took its final architectural form in 1952 with the completion of the large oval room (bronze room). In 2014, the National Museum of Archeology in Rabat, like 13 other Moroccan museums, is entrusted to the National Museum Foundation. It was decided to renovate the building, to reorganize the permanent exhibition slightly, and to reopen the museum in April 2017 under the name of "Museum of History and Civilization".

Museum of the History of Civilization practical information
The Museum of the History of Civilization opens daily from 10:00 to 18:00, except Tuesdays. Entrance fees to the museum is 20 dhs for adults - 10 dhs for children aged 15-18 years - 5 dhs for children under 14 and 50% discount for groups of students upon presentation of the student card. Friday is free for nationals and foreign residents in Morocco.