This year, the CNES Space Observatory is partnering with the International Museum Day to offer a contemporary and original view on museum practice.

In 2000, the CNES, the French National Space Agency, created the Space Observatory to put space back at the centre of heritage, historical and artistic concerns. Its mission is to develop an innovative cultural policy at the crossroads of several public policy aspirations. In this perspective, the Space Observatory builds and carries out programs to promote the emergence of creation, art and heritage in a scientific and technical universe, according to a humanist vision of knowledge wherein learning and imagination are intricately linked with their effects on society.

The Space Observatory is partnering with the French Ministry of Culture and Communication for the European Night of Museums for the 5th consecutive year with this year’s event, Controverses spatiales. (spatial controversy)
On the European Night of Museums, in each participating museum, this new project will offer an encounter around a work of art or a group of works of art, between an expert linked to the collections and a specialist from the spatial world, in order to engage in conversation about the ways in which our knowledge is continually shaken up.

Since 2008, through the many events proposed for the European Night of Museums, a rich and innovative landscape of experimental encounters is emerging, showing the capacity of museum collections to respond to the conceptual questions raised by space exploration today.

The Space Observatory, in partnership with ICOM and under the sponsorship of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe, maintains the multidisciplinary approach launched five years ago with French museums (museums of fine arts, history, contemporary art, science and technique) and is opening up to the rest of Europe for 2012. This year, some 30 French and European museums are participating in the event Controverses spatiale. (Spatial Controversy).

Through this contemporary approach to mediation around the collections, the goal of this initiative is twofold.
It proposes to share the questions raised by evolutions in the concept of space over the centuries to a curious and varied public. Furthermore, beyond the event itself, a foundation for a European cultural model for the benefit of the greatest number is being laid.




On the occasion of International Museum Day, ICOM is supporting the Museum Together project, an innovative social application that aims to foster the organisation of meetings around museums and encourage the sharing of cultural experience.
MuseumTogether is an iPhone application on which the users create their profile and then searches for other profiles so they can organise shared visits or join visit projects already launched by the other members of the community. Progressively, the user creates a friend network in order to share their experiences and visits. A system of instant messaging by the friend network facilitates the process. In addition, the user has access to a stream of news and offers published by museums, offering various utilisations of the app.
The iPhone app is supported by a website called This site functions as a true social platform, designed for exchange and dialogue between members of the community, as well as commentary on museums or visited exhibitions. Museum representatives and/or curators have access to their own pages. This “curator interface” allows a museum manager to publish promotional information and make offers visible to the entire community or to selected targets.