The Museum’s centennial: an international dimension

In 1988, the commemoration of the Bardo museum’s centennial was marked by the inauguration of a temporary exhibition entitled “The Bardo Museum between the past and today, from 1888 to 1988”. Mrs Ben Abed supervised the renovation of the Punic Department, the creation of a treasure hall, and the installation of ambient lighting in the Carthage Hall.

In 1991, following a short occupation of the head position at the museum by the prehistory specialist Mr Jamel Zoghlami, Mr Habib Ben Younes, who was a researcher specialized in the Libyque-Punic civilization, was entrusted with the position of curator of the museum (1991-2001). This was aiming at reorganizing the patrimonial institutions and enlarging their prerogatives. Thus, many achievements were made possible thanks to a partnership between the Institut National du Patrimoine (INP) and the Agence Nationale de la Mise en Valeur du Patrimoine et de la Promotion culturelle (AMVPPC). This partnership allowed the rearrangement of sarcophaguses corridor, the Prehistory Department, and the Punic Hall.

Mrs Samira Gargouri Sethom, an ethnologist, directed the laying out the Traditional Headdresses and Clothes Hall with the support of the Office National du Tourisme Tunisien (ONTT). It was inaugurated in 1995.
After bringing back the restored collections of the underwater excavations in Mahdia from Germany and France (Carthage exhibition in the Paris Small Palace), a Mediterranean treasure department was laid out on the first floor with a didactic museographic presentation and in accordance with preservation standards.
In order to perfect these museographic achievements, public reception structures were arranged on the ground floor to ensure the visitors’ comfort.
Among the temporary exhibitions that were organized by the museum, that of “The Dinosaurs’ Comeback”, which was prepared in collaboration with the City of Sciences in 1995, knew a great success among the Tunisian and foreign young public.

During this decade, many works of the National Bardo Museum were exposed abroad, namely in the outstanding festivities that marked the Tunisian Cultural Season in France in 1995, in the Tunisian pavilions in the Seville’s universal exhibitions (1992), and Hannover (2000). These exhibitions which were entitled “Colours of Tunisia, 25 Centuries of Carthage Ceramics”, had a great echo among the public.

From 2001 to 2003, Mr Khaled Ben Romdhane, a newly named curator of the museum and a numismatist specialized in the Arab-Islamic era, organized the rearrangement of the Islamic department and codirected the temporary exhibitions that were organized in the museum in collaboration with cultural services of the Italian embassy. The museum also participated in the exhibitions of Lattes in 2001 (From Christianity to Islam) and Namur in 2003 (The Tunisian Art from the Origins to our Times) through the lending of many works of its collections.