Mr Ambassador of the United States,Mr Prefect,Mr President of the General Council,Mr Mayor,Mr Director of Heritage,Madam Director in charge of Museums,Madam President of the Association of Friends of the Blérancourt Museum,Madam President of the American Friends of Blérancourt, Mr Director of the SCN of the Châteaux de Compiègne and Blérancourt, Madam Curator, Dear friends

The Franco-American museum in Blérancourt is a symbolic place for
the French and for the Americans; the quality of the personalities present
today. For more than ninety years, Blérancourt
embodies a Franco-American friendship of which I was able to see again the
during the tribute paid a few days ago to Notre-Dame de
Paris to the victims of September 11.

This museum was born from a meeting between an exceptional
17th century largely dismantled during the Revolution
a village, a territory marked by a tragic war
which resulted in millions of deaths, and a woman, an American, Anne
Morgan, who created a humanitarian organization whose neighborhood she set up
General on the site of the castle of Blérancourt in 1917.
Anne Morgan is none other than the daughter of John Pierpont Morgan, one of the
greatest American fortunes of his time, great collector
New York, some of the collections can be seen at the MET in
the library that bears her name. Involved in the cause of women
concerned about their social rights, Anne Morgan decides in
in July 1917, to settle a few kilometres from the front,
to bring relief and relief to the civilian populations of Picardy. Anchor
in a territory, relieve the distress of a civilian population vicitime of the
The European Union has a
rebuilding a country in depth: this avant-garde woman and her
Organization will provide relief and assistance to more than 130 villages
between 1917 and 1924. At the age of 62, in 1939, Anne returned to France
to create a new humanitarian organization for refugees
of border regions.

Today, during the European Heritage Days, it is therefore
to this extraordinary woman we honour - in these places
that still resonate from the ballet of ambulances of the Great War, in
this castle where she lived, with the inauguration of these two pavilions
which she herself had restored in 1924, one of which was the one where she
Stayed, named after him.

If it is still too early today to also inaugurate the Museum
renovated Franco-American, it is because of archaeology work
have uncovered, as you know, remnants of
on the site of the extension works launched thanks to the
American Friends of Blérancourt. In 2007, during the
start of the construction site, when the foundations, the
evidence of these remains has been identified. After four campaigns
surveys, we have therefore undertaken a search that has
over three years. This was a long interruption, but it allowed the
doing very valuable archaeological work.

National Archaeological Research Institute teams
In undertaking this task, preventive measures have greatly advanced our
knowledge on the site. We now know that the castle of
17th century was not built ex nihilo, but on a natural hill that
occupied from the thirteenth century. If the traces of this occupation
are modest, the survey and documentation work is
remarkable. At the front, a bridge of four arches was discovered: the
quality of this construction led us to ask the architect of
project, Yves Lion, and the chief architect of historical monuments
Etienne Poncelet, to integrate it into the project of the new museum that must
be inaugurated in 2014. During the archaeological excavations, the
Museums of France completed part of the renovation project, in
the two pavilions we are opening today.

This renovation received a decisive and very generous contribution
of the French Friends of Blérancourt. Dear Catherine Chatin,
and Olivier Gillet and all the
members of the association you chair. I know that your experience
in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, whom you know well for having advised Jean
Masurel, inspired you to launch an awareness campaign
companies that support the Blérancourt Museum. Three banks
answered your call: J.P. Morgan Chase, and two institutions
with a strong local presence, Crédit Agricole du Nord-Est
and the Picardie savings bank. Thanks to your action, your generosity
and that of your members, the two pavilions will be open again
to the public.

The Anne Morgan Pavilion, restored identically, has been equipped to
relive the great moments of Blérancourt. The second pavilion, the
of the Franco-American library, fully meets the
research and knowledge enrichment that are part of the
museum missions. This library, which includes more than six thousand
books, archives and important documentation, is a resource
important for the future of the museum; a thematic library of
research that the teams of the museum have at heart to open very widely
to readers who so request.

The management of the operation was carried out by the Service’s museum centre
of the Museums of France, and the project was entrusted to the architect
Françoise Ruel. This is Anne Dopffer, curator in
of the museum, assisted by its collaborators, who
Passion the follow-up of the works, with the precious support of the teams of the palace
de Compiègne.

This is the conclusion of the first phase of a major
renovation that we celebrate today. The unique collections of the
Franco-American Museum will be presented in a more
very contemporary museology, in a new
space that will compensate for the lack of previous space. We know this
that this essential expansion work must be
American Friends of Blérancourt, of which I greet the President, Madam
Eugénie Angles. It was the architect Yves Lion, who had so brilliantly succeeded
rehabilitation project with Pierre Rosenberg in 1989, who agreed to
Take over this project, to create a new contemporary building.

I would also like to acknowledge the support of the Picardie Region and the
Department of Aisne have kindly wished to bring to this museum, in particular
for the computerization of its collections or exhibition projects. This
close cooperation between the State and the
local authorities, which throughout France is the guarantee of a network
strong territorial and cultural.

Blérancourt modest by size, large by ambitions, offers a project
for French museums. That’s why I wanted to strengthen
still the support of my ministry, by integrating the museum of Blérancourt
the Museums Plan, of which 70 million euros are intended to support the
museums in the regions. All the conditions are therefore met for the
second phase of this beautiful project restarts; we can now and
date for 2014, when the renovation of the Francoamerican Museum,
expanded and modernized, more responsive to public expectations, will be
finally completed.

Thank you.