The public lies at the heart of the Musée Fabre project; for this reason, a number of different areas have been developed within the museum to offer new ways of discovering the collections.
The Jean Claparède Documentation Centre
The Jean Claparède Documentation Centre, on the ground floor opposite the Boutique Sauramps, is open to the general public on Wednesdays from 14.00 to 18.00 and to students, teachers, researchers and other authorised persons by appointment on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 14.00 to 17.00.
Over 4,000 books on the works in the Museum and its exhibitions, art journals and theses are available for consultation there. Ten workstations and two computer terminals enable users to research the on-line catalogue, visit resource websites and look at digitised documents: documentation on individual paintings and drawings, old documents and photos, newspaper cuttings and Musée Fabre catalogues (detailed descriptions of the paintings and art objects exhibited in the Musée Fabre and elsewhere, dating from 1828 to 1940).
Documentation on individual paintings and drawings, and books in the store, the reserves, undergoing conservation or in use in the public areas can be accessed by prior request.
The multimedia section of the micro-gallery located at the entrance to the building provides access to ICT facilities in the museum.
Computers in open access offer visitors the latest developments in the museum with a calendar of events (on-line bookings for guided tours), a discovery tour of the museum and its collections and a preparation facility with an interactive map which visitors can use to print their own personalised visit route. The range of interactive games helps young and old to discover the fundamental principles of art (colour, composition, light genres in painting…).
The interpretation rooms
Interpretation rooms with a private and tranquil ambience are located around the museum: visitors can take a break there, look at exhibition catalogues and deepen their understanding of the works on show. These rooms are dedicated to the major donors who, perhaps more fundamentally than in other museums, left their mark on the Montpellier museum: François-Xavier Fabre, the Neoclassical painter, who founded the institution in 1828, Antoine Valedau, who bequeathed his collection of Northern European painting to the museum in 1836 and Alfred Bruyas, who donated an exceptional collection of major 19th century works, including some outstanding paintings by Delacroix and Courbet.
An area of 300 m² is wholly devoted to cultural facilitation. Designed as a modular facility, it can be used for practical arts workshops (painting, sculpture..), multimedia workshops and for discovering the use of new technology in the arts (digital images, photography and photographic retouching). Its aim is to provide an introduction to art in all its forms and to make the museum a place of discovery and encounter.
Database and digitisation of the collections
A programme to digitise the collections using a database of the works placed on-line, including drawings and archive documents, will provide an opportunity to discover the whole collection. Aimed at the general public as well as researchers, this programme will make the riches of the Musée Fabre accessible to all.