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Renowned for its aquarium and remarkable architecture, the Oceanographic Museum helps to make Monaco an advocate for the ocean.

Perched on the Rocher of Monaco, the Oceanographic Museum was founded by Prince Albert I, a pioneer of oceanography. This impressive, cliff-hugging building, officially opened in 1910, is renowned for its aquarium. Ninety pools provide a home for more than 6,000 specimens and 350 species of fish. In summer 2019, a new Marine Animal Rescue Centre was added.

Our Role is to Transform Each Visitor into an Ambassador for the Oceans
 Read Robert Calcagno's interview

Here, sirs, you can see that the land of Monaco has raised up a proud and inviolable temple to the new divinity which reigns over great intellects.


Albert I of Monaco

© J. B. E. Detaille
© DR

Led by Jacques Cousteau for 31 years, the Oceanographic Museum is a place for culture and discussion, where experiences of protecting the ocean come together through symposiums, exhibitions, educational programmes, and so on.

It was here that, in September 2019, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) released its special report investigating the impact of climate change on the ocean and cryosphere to the public.

The Oceanographic Museum is the “flagship” of the Oceanographic Institute led by Robert Calcagno. This foundation, a recognised public interest organisation, brings together scientists, politicians, economists and the public to improve understanding of the ocean and protect it. At the behest of its Honorary President, Prince Albert II, this Institute also contributes to Monaco’s commitment on the oceans, alongside the Prince’s Government, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Monaco Scientific Centre and the Yacht Club de Monaco.

It relies on its two institutions, the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco and the Maison des Océans in Paris, to carry out numerous projects at the national and international levels.

© Direction de la Communication - Michael Alesi

Prince Albert I, my great-great-grandfather, wanted Monaco to have an Oceanographic Institute with a clear road map: to promote, love and protect the ocean. Today, we can see just how relevant, forward-thinking and powerful that vision was.


Prince Albert II of Monaco


Our Role is to Transform Each Visitor into an Ambassador for the Oceans

The Oceanographic Institute of Monaco works to "make the ocean known, loved and protected." An Interview with its Director-General, Robert Calcagno.

As the founder of the Oceanographic Institute, how was Prince Albert I a forerunner of modern oceanography?

Prince Albert I had a deep love for the ocean. He initiated some of the most important oceanographic campaigns of his time …  His contribution to the progress of oceanography was considerable. He undertook a large-scale survey of marine life and enabled new species to be discovered. He made it possible for the very first bathymetric map of the oceans to be created (Editor’s note: recording the depth), and invented, or perfected, numerous instruments used for underwater exploration, such as floats, the surface trawl and many others – not forgetting that his work led to the discovery of anaphylaxis, leading to the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1913. In addition to his legacy of scientific knowledge, Prince Albert I paid particular attention to raising public awareness and educational outreach. This is what motivated the founding of the Oceanographic Museum!

How do you see the role of the Museum in raising awareness of the importance of the oceans?

By being confronted with the beauty and riches of the oceans, the public can better understand their usefulness and fragility. Our role is to transform each visitor into an ambassador for the oceans, thanks to our display tanks, and also via our scientific and heritage collections, our educational programmes for schools and families, and our temporary exhibitions. In addition to the Museum, the Oceanographic Institute (a foundation recognised as being of public utility in France) brings together and creates links between the various stakeholders in ocean management – scientists, politicians, entrepreneurs, NGOs, the media and the general public. This ability to connect, to bring people together and have an influence is the cornerstone of our activities.

Which room, hall or part of the Museum attracts the most visitors?

Members of the public generally spend most of their visit in the aquariums, the tropical wing of which has just been refurbished! We are also seeing a renewed interest from visitors in our new permanent and temporary exhibitions – firstly, in the “Monaco & the Ocean” area and then, since this summer, in “IMMERSION,” which offers a virtual interactive dive in the Great Barrier Coral Reef – a new format! With these two new areas, we have completely shaken up the concept of our museum, as with our brand new Escape Game on the theme of oceanographic exploration, designed in partnership with Iris Game. The Museum is at the forefront in inviting people to look beneath the surface, to discover and preserve the vitality and beauty of the oceans. To do this, we must constantly reinvent ourselves to maintain our visitors’ interest.

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Musée Océanographique

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