Store Museum Store (Paris)

Paris, France. Popular with tourists, this quaint store, which looks like a museum, is actually a store for museums. Since 1831, the Deyrolle family has been selling specimens and taxidermy to natural history collections. They preserve only animals that have died naturally, and are committed to protecting natural diversity and endangered species.


The visitor/shopper will find a mix of natural artifacts for sale, and not for sale displays.  


What is the relationship between visiting and shopping? In museum stores, we might buy a catalog or memento as a physical reminder of the personal meaning of the exhibition experience. Many traditional museums are showcases of what (only) the wealthy can buy or commission. As the natural world becomes more endangered (valuable), perhaps we're looking for something to "save", a memento of vanishing life?


Visiting is purely an act of appreciation, but shopping is an act of materialism. At a museum we enter as a visitor and we'd be shocked if something was for sale. At Deyrolle we enter as a shopper, but some things we're not allowed to buy. Reverse dynamics heighten the tension between respect and aquisition.