Château de Blérancourt. Photo: Atout France

During the First World War, 350 American women – all volunteers – left comfortable lives in the United States to help the war-ravaged civilian population in Picardy, in northeastern France. The dynamic leader of this effort was Anne Morgan, daughter of the financier John Pierpont Morgan, who set up headquarters in the Château de Blérancourt, 120km north of Paris, which was entrusted to her by the French army.

After the war, Anne Morgan purchased the château and restored a section to open a museum of French-American cooperation. The museum evolved through the years, and has now undergone a comprehensive rethink and expansion that has nearly been completed. The development of the architectural project had to be stopped in 2005 due to the discovery of important archaeological remains that had to be examined. These discoveries completely changed the architectural project so that it now incorporates the remains in the modern architecture.

In 2017 we will finally be able to enjoy decades of dedication and planning. The architecture by Yves Lion re-establishes the continuity and the connection of the buildings by linking the Historic Pavilion with the Gould Pavilion. Designer Adrien Gardère has refined the details of the exhibition space, both for the permanent collection as well as for the temporary exhibits, with the aim of offering visitors a tour that is both educational and enjoyable. The total cost of the operation has been estimated at €4.5 million, money that has been provided thanks to joint-financing from the Ministry of Culture and Communication and philanthropic donations from the United States coupled with the Florence Gould Fund by The American Friends of Blérancourt.

Reopening scheduled for summer 2017. Website: http://en.museefrancoamericain.fr

From France Today magazine

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