For health reasons, we turned our back for a moment, and all Hades broke loose at the Archives nationales de France. As we have reported, the collections of the national archives have been and are being decentralised. The archives concerning the ex-colonies are in the Archives nationales d'outre-mer in Aix-en-Provence. A new facility is being built in the scary suburbs of Paris to take more of the collection out of the building in central Paris.This was all meant to free up space for storing the incoming additions to the archives.
President Sarkozy, apparently suffering from Mitterand-Egomania Syndrome, decided he wanted to use that space in other ways to create a Museum of French History. The archivists were outraged and distributed petitions to be signed, put up posters, occupied part of the disputed space, the usual.
Suddenly, while we were away, the Director of the National Archives, Isabelle Neuschwander, was fired by the Minister of Culture (a sleazy character if ever there were one), for her opposition to the proposed museum taking archives space. Her replacement, Agnès Magnien, is a palaeographer and archivist who will, presumably, make no further objections to the Museum of French History.
For those planning to come to Paris to research in the Archives nationales, we are predicting plenty of strikes and suggest you have a few back-up plans.
©2011 Anne Morddel