Filming the renovation of the world's largest herbarium for the general public.
The secrets of renovating a herbarium
Millions of plants digitized
The digital transition does not only affect companies and homes! To preserve and facilitate the use of its herbarium, the Paris Museum of Natural History has chosen to digitize it.
This herbarium is a true treasure, the largest in the world: 11 million specimens of plants, fungi, algae and lichens. All of these plants, brought back over many years and stored in cupboards, deserve not only to be dusted off, but also to be reorganized in a more modern way.
Under the camera's watchful gaze
Digitizing and reorganizing such a large collection of specimens was a herculean task: it took 4 years. And what if the process were documented for the general public's enjoyment? This wonderful idea led to the creation of a 40-episode web series, Herbarium 2.0!
Klorane Botanical Foundation partnered with Lookatsciences to create this documentary. At the helm were Carlos Muñoz Yagü, Anne France Sion and Vincent Gaullier, the three co-producers.
Revealing what the public cannot see
This documentary was also designed to give the public access to what is normally only accessible to specialists: each chronicle provides a glimpse of a botanical collection that is usually closed to the public.
It also recounts the incredible reorganization of the botanical collections. As it happens, plants are not classified today in the exact same way as they were many centuries ago... Botany is constantly evolving thanks to scientists' discoveries.
Anne France Sion
"For me, this project offered a chance to discover that botany is in fact a very lively discipline, which combines exoticism, aesthetics and history. And to present a modern science that is attuned to current issues while looking to both the past and the future. To understand and preserve biodiversity, researchers worldwide share their knowledge, exchanging or lending out specimens brought back from the field or stored as part of collections. A cooperative dynamic that is wonderful to observe. ” Author and producer of documentary films.
"Why invest 4 years in a project like this one? For its theatrical dimension: a single setting, the Grand Herbier de Paris; a single time, the renovation; a single action, the research and preservation measures carried out on the bananas of Southeast Asia, the barley of Paris, legumes from all over the world... the plants of the past and present." Author and producer of documentary films. He is the co-producer, along with Anne France Sion, of the 20 video episodes.
Carlos Muñoz Yagü
“I am fascinated by scientific and historical research, and by humanity's cultural and political memory. I am driven by a need to document painful pasts and to continue to examine the most tangible of values: art and manual labour, physical expression and the creative act. This work on the Herbarium of Paris is the culmination of a long photo documentary project that illustrates my dedication to earth and environmental science research.” Producer and photographer. He produced the 20 photo episodes.