History of the Musee Dapper

The Musee Dapper is named after Olfert Dapper who was a Dutch humanist that wrote about Africa back in the 1600s and this museum in Paris was set up to provide an artistic heritage all relating to Africa and the Caribbean.

The very beginning

The Dutch humanist Olfert Dapper wrote an encyclopaedic description all about Africa that was first published in 1668, and this was despite the fact that he never left his home country.
Musee Dapper art work displays
A foundation called the Olfert Dapper Foundation, which takes its name from Olfert Dapper, was first set up in Amsterdam in 1983 with the purpose of raising the profile of sub-Saharan African heritage and contribute towards conservation of its art forms.

The start of Musee Dapper

It was in the May of 1986 that the Musee Dapper was first opened in Paris by the foundation and directed by Christiane Falgayrettes-Leveau, the event was marked by staging of three different exhibitions over the city.  The first was where this new museum in Paris was located at the time on the Avenue Victor Hugo, and one of the others was an exhibition within the Musee des Arts Decoratifs.

And from then right up until 1998, the Musee Dapper played host to thirty different themed exhibitions, with most of these being curated by Christiane Flagayrettes-Leveau and included items from the foundations own collections along with others on loan from private collections and museums all over the world.
All of these exhibitions were accompanied by different publications and included articles from historians, anthropologies, art historians and ethnologists, yet the diversity of the publishing has expanded further into African literature and books for younger readers.

The next stage of development at Musee Dapper

The Musee Dapper was growing and so was the mission of the Olfort Dapper Foundation, which led them to the mammoth task of preparing to move to better suited and larger premises, and so, in the year 2000, the museum moved to the Rue Paul Valery.

With a modern layout that offers a unique venue for showcasing creative arts of Africa, it also has sections for creative arts from the Caribbean, African-American, mixed race communities of Europe, Latin America and the Indian Ocean, and it was officially inaugurated on 30th November 2000.
Musee Dapper statue
Musee Dapper sculpture
A cafe style restaurant was also put in place, which is located next to the museum shop and the first exhibition called the Arts d’Afrique ran through to the July followed by another in 2001 that presented three early bronzes from a Senegalese sculptor and an area dedicated to the Cuban artist Wifredo Lam, who was a friend of Pablo Picasso.

The exhibitions that combined old and new were an instant success and the Musee Dapper continued to gain popularity right through until 2009, when the foundation decided to take the museum to another new level.

Through to today at Musee Dapper in Paris

With the resounding success of combining old and new art from Africa and mixed races, the museum decided to extend further by not just providing the public with the opportunity to discover physical art works, but also look at performing arts.
Mask at Musee Dapper
And so, the Musee Dapper Museum opened up a 190 seat auditorium, which now hosts numerous events including dance, concerts, childrens shows, seminars, lectures and much more.

Then in 2005, the Musee Dapper started up an African film club with different films screened on the third Friday of each month, and therefore this museum in Paris is still continuing to expand and fulfil its mission of giving people the opportunity to learn more about the cultural heritage of Africa through shows, exhibitions, guided tours and themed events.