The polar museum in Prémanon

A leading resource dedicated to the Arctic and Antarctic regions

The Espace des Mondes Polaires would not exist without Paul-Émile Victor. Born in the Jura, this famous French explorer was one of the pioneers of modern ecology in the 70s, and predicted the brutal changes that would affect the North and South poles.

In light of today’s questions, issues and challenges, the Espace des Mondes Polaires museum gives a voice to explorers, scientists, contemporary artists and politicians, each bringing their own knowledge, dreams and imagination to tell us about these regions. Their insights give us a better understanding of the human, environmental and economic issues related to the balance of the planet, for example, by recounting the fate of the polar bear in its natural environment or that of the Inuit peoples.

Cultural programme and the polar museum collections

Educational workshops, temporary exhibits, and auditorium talks and film screenings are regularly held at the polar museum. The Espace des Mondes Polaires collections and archives, which also contain items and documents belonging to the Victor family, will be displayed in temporary exhibits.

The Espace des Mondes Polaires is the leading cultural resource on issues affecting the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Its raison d’être are the Jura origins of Paul-Émile Victor and the location of the polar center in Prémanon since 1988.

History of the museum

A look back at the history of the first French museum devoted to the poles and the journeys of Paul-Emile Victor, the Jura polar explorer.

  • 1972: creation of the Vallée des Rennes reindeer park, by Pierre Marc. The park successfully adapted the domestic reindeer to the Haut-Jura region and quickly grew to welcome tens of thousands of visitors each winter. Annual polar festivals were organised on the site and Paul-Emile Victor was often in attendance. Pierre Marc then had the idea of suggesting to the famous explorer that the first French polar museum should be created in Prémanon.
  • 1988: the “Musée européen de l’exploration polaire” or European Museum of Polar Exploration was founded in Prémanon by Pierre Marc with the support of Paul-Emile Victor who provided several objects and archive documents. The original exhibition and curation examined the polar regions through the expeditions of the Jura explorer.
  • 1995: closure of the Vallée des Rennes reindeer park and the polar museum.
  • 1998: creation of an association led by Jean-Christophe Victor, son of the Jura explorer, which then assumed responsibility for the museum. The site became known as the “Centre polaire Paul-Emile Victor” or Paul-Emile Victor Polar Centre.
  • 2002: the premises were acquired by the Station des Rousses federation of local councils. The association continued to manage the centre and coordinate events.
  • 2014: work started on the Espace des Mondes Polaires, built at the initiative of the federation of local councils.
  • March 2016: closure of the Centre Polaire Paul-Emile Victor. The objective of the Espace des Mondes Polaires museum is to shift its focus onto contemporary issues related to the polar regions. The priority is now to inform, educate and help visitors understand the Arctic and Antarctic.