History of the “Henri Dupuis Museum”
A collector’s museum
Single and a person of independent means, Henri Dupuis devoted his whole fortune and most of his time, to building his collection, commissioning explorers to track down the objects he desired to enable him to put them in his house which he had had specially renovated to display his collection. Upon his death in 1889, he left his residence and his whole collection to Saint-Omer town council to “be of benefit for everybody and, above all, young people “, in the hope that his collections would be exhibited in order to develop the knowledge of the Audomarois concerning Flemish heritage and its naturalia.
The birth of the Saint-Omer “Natural History Museum”
The museum remained faithful to the display designed by Henri Dupuis himself, in particular with huge showcases filled with shells and minerals. However, in 1950, it was decided to split up the collections of the town’s two museums. This process was aimed at enhancing the identity of each museum: The Fine Art and Decorative Art collections were brought together at the “Musée de l’hôtel Sandelin”, while the Henri Dupuis Museum was completely dedicated to natural history, with the notable exception of Flemish cuisine.
A more educational museum
In the 1970s, dioramas were arranged on the ground floor in order to display the stuffed bird collections in a more realistic and thought-provoking manner. The office used by Henri Dupuis, Flemish cuisine and the shell room have been left untouched.
The Henri Dupuis Museum has been shut since 2007 as the building is no longer compliant with the legislation for buildings open to the general public. Nevertheless, the team of the Saint-Omer museums continues to work on the collections and the building.
9, rue Henri Dupuis 62500 Saint‐Omer