Address by Frédéric Mitterrand, Minister of Culture and Communication, on the occasion of the ceremony for the presentation of the Commander’s Certificate in the National Order of Arts and Letters to MichelColardelle.

Dear Michel Colardelle,
You will forgive me for starting a detour through the history of the revolution
and heroic times that saw the birth of the idea of a museum. The
Father Grégoire, this Republican bishop heir to the Enlightenment and slayer of
slavery, have erected in principle the idea of a Republic of
scientists." It seems to me that your background and your career reflect
marvel at this ambition and vision.
For before being a wise museum director and a great servant of the state, you
are above all a scientist and a great researcher, to the recognition
international. Historian of the High Middle Ages, confirmed archaeologist, specialist
of Merovingian times, you have led and directed many
excavation, including those dedicated to Lake Paladru – which an actress
illustrated in a doctorate became famous in the history of French cinema in
last years - but also to the lake habitat of Charavines in the Isère.
Your presence in many learned societies, in many
Advice, but also within the French section of ICOMOS testifies to
this pronounced taste for the paths of memory and heritage
archaeological to which you have dedicated much of your brilliant career
scientific and academic.
You are also a great servant of the State, a great clerk of the Republic,
through your many functions in the field of museums,
historical and heritage monuments at the highest level. Curator in
head of museums in France, you managed the Caisse nationale des
Historical monuments and sites before working at the Museums Directorate
France. Your scientific qualities, your knowledge of the collections, your
personal commitment have earned the admiration of your employees and all
those who have worked alongside you. In 1996, you were appointed as the
Museum of Folk Arts and Traditions, this creation of the Popular Front if
important in promoting material cultures and heritage
ethnological.
You then initiated a policy of profound renovation of the establishment,
to the social sciences and to the cultures of the world. You have
then reoriented the scientific and cultural policy of this place steeped in history
to create a museum of the civilizations of France and Europe modernized and
renovated. At the same time, concerned about the international visibility of the establishment,
you have launched two international competitions for which two big names
were chosen, notably Rudy Ricciotti, Grand Prix d'architecture in 2007.
Since October 2009, you have been entrusted by my Ministry with a
permanent mission to enhance the cultural wealth of
the French Overseas Territories. It is in this capacity that you have contributed greatly, in
continuity of the General States of the Overseas Territories in the preparation of the plan
that I present today in Guyana. Here again your skills
your knowledge of cultural administration and your
qualities of negotiator fed the action of the Ministry of Culture and
its influence on all the territories of the Republic.
Today, Guyana can be pleased to have a Regional Director of
Cultural affairs sensitive to the depth of history and cultures
material and immaterial, with his undisputed experience at the head
major cultural institutions but also supported by your
work and conviction. These are the ones that led me today to
meet you here in Cayenne, braving the uncertainties of the moment and
the constraints of the metropolitan agenda!
So it is with great pleasure that I prepare for you
promote, on behalf of the French Republic, to the rank of
Commander of arts and letters.