More than two years ago, the first museum that the Purrito and I visited, our first encounter with Parisian cultural activities, the first time that we decided to seize a weekend and do something new, we went to Le musée du quai Branly because it was close and because the Purrito had read that it was a beautiful museum.
Looking back at that first visit, I am struck by how surprising it was that we tried again, how we promptly got back on the horse and kept doing things, how we did not immediately decide that our plans for weekend culture activities were irredeemably flawed; as we learned again this past weekend when we decided that heading back for an exhibit on Jacques Chirac (who was effectively the father of the museum) was better than doing nothing, this museum simply sucks.
While the building is indeed impressive (and air conditioned), its focus (“ethnic” artifacts that the Louvre never gave enough of a fuck to take out of their packing crates) is stunningly boring; there’s some amusement in the associated backstory (much like the British Museum, the collection is really a “hey look at all of this cool shit we looted,” without having looted Greek statues, temples, or anything aside from some ugly-ass drums), but looking at spears and fetishes and carved whale bones (“yeah, I guess that might look kind of like a human”) was as fucking terrible last week as it was two years ago. Even the exhibit on Chirac (a genuinely interesting politician) had very little to do with Chirac and more to do with the handwringing over what to do with all of the crap that the Louvre didn’t want and that the musée de l’homme couldn’t be trusted to display in a non-racist manner.
The gift shop was, however, acceptable (the Purrito bought a colorful 29€ sock monkey hand-made by former sex slaves in Thailand), and the museum was air conditioned, so there are a few positive attributes.