| Press Release

École Polytechnique Reveals Unprecedented Collections on Google Arts & Culture

École Polytechnique and Google Arts & Culture are teaming up to make available to the general public for the first time a unique collection of nearly 2,000 pieces from scientific, historical, and artistic collections from École Polytechnique, retracing more than 226 years of existence. Through seven online exhibitions, this virtual space highlights the history of the school, its contribution to great scientific discoveries, and also allows visitors to focus on historical destinies or individual stories, diving into the daily life of students from various eras. 

Stemming from a partnership initiated in 2019 with Google Arts & Culture, which specializes in virtual visits of museums and the visualization of works in high definition, in March 2021, École Polytechnique unveils nearly 2,000 pieces and seven new exhibitions from the reserves of its museum, the Mus’X. A virtual tour of the museum in “Street View” is also available with the exhibitions. This launch represents one step further in favor of the opening of the school’s campus and the dissemination of knowledge.  

This unprecedented project for a higher education institution in France responds to a number of ambitions such as the valorization of culture and scientific and technical heritage. These exhibitions bring a new perspective to the cultural and historical legacy of the school, including traditions or student life since 1794. École Polytechnique has always had the ambition of building bridges between the arts and sciences, and between science and society. Expanding the heritage of the school beyond the limits of the Palaiseau campus and giving access to our unpublished collections or those unknown to the general public, has become essential, especially considering the context of the current global pandemic, with cultural spaces remaining closed in France,” states Eric Labaye, President of École Polytechnique.
 
1,850 works and more than 226 years of history
 
- Nearly 200 artistic drawings, gathered at the beginning for drawing class purposes, the engineer of the 18th century had to know how to master the art of drawing
- Around 100 photographic portraits of former “polytechnicien” students, with unique destinies
- More than 500 prints and photographic views revealing the behind-the-scenes of student life from different eras
- Around 50 photographs of historical scientific instruments – from past to present
- And much more…

 

Seven thematic virtual exhibitions

Why is it called “Poly-technique”?
Scientific instrumentation: Discover the first-rate techniques to which the adjective “Poly-technique” refers. Take a journey from past to present, through the school’s collection. 

Unique destinies: President, Nobel Prize, or Musician
A collection of pictures of students from very diverse backgrounds who ended up at the same school (1857-1900) and went on to become public personalities.  

Polytechnique: A clarion call to women
Initially reserved to men, the school soon attracted exceptional women scientists who helped to change perceptions and overcome discrimination. Discover some anecdotes and milestones that mark the history of the opening of the school to women.

From school to the War Front
World War I in portraits and stories.

Point Gamma: A legendary student festival
Renowned today for its electro line-up, this festival originates from an Astronomy class and a costume ball. Discover the history behind the oldest student party in France, through the museum’s exclusive drawing archives.

Wanted: Scholars
École Polytechnique was founded in 1794, in the midst of revolutionary turmoil, with the purpose of compensating the shortage of engineers. For the first time, young people were selected to join the school without distinction as to their social origin, property, or status.

Singing traditions
Discover in music and images a tradition of student songs that is still very much alive today.
 
Created in 2018, the École Polytechnique Museum, known as the Mus’X, brings together historical, scientific, and artistic collections, and regroups the rich heritage dating back to the creation of the school in 1794. This exceptional heritage has continued to grow since then and sheds a unique light on the evolution of societal issues in science and technology. Google Arts & Culture was created 10 years ago. Its objective is to make the art and culture of humanity more accessible through a sharing platform made available to partners.
 
Click here to discover the reserves of the Mus’X through Google Arts & Culture 

About École Polytechnique

École Polytechnique, also known as L’X, is the leading French institution combining top-level research, academics, and innovation at the cutting-edge of science and technology. Its various undergraduate and graduate-level programs – Bachelor of Science, Ingénieur Polytechnicien (Master’s level program), Master’s, and PhD – are highly selective and promote a culture of excellence with a strong emphasis on science, anchored in humanist traditions. As a widely internationalized university, École Polytechnique offers a variety of international programs and attracts a growing number of foreign students and researchers from around the globe (currently 41% of students and 40% of faculty members).

École Polytechnique offers an exceptional education to prepare bright men and women to excel in top-level key positions and lead complex and innovative projects which meet the challenges of 21st century society, all while maintaining a keen sense of their civil and social responsibilities. With its 23 laboratories, 22 of which are joint research units with the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the École Polytechnique Research Center explores the frontiers of interdisciplinary knowledge to provide major contributions to science, technology, and society. École Polytechnique is a founding member of Institut Polytechnique de Paris.

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