Le Musée d'Histoire de Marseille (MHM)

Museum in Marseille

Musée D’histoire De La Ville De Marseille
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Cover 2020

The Marseille History Museum, dedicated to preserving the rich history of Marseille, was established in 1983 and underwent a comprehensive renovation, reopening on September 14, 2013, to coincide with the Marseille-Provence 2013 event.

Situated in the Center Bourse close to the Old Port, the museum is home to the site of the Ancient Port and features a permanent exhibition space spanning 3,500 square meters, a temporary exhibition area, a documentation center, and an auditorium. It is recognized as the largest urban history museum in France.

Historical Background of Le Musée d’Histoire de Marseille

The Center Bourse was constructed in 1967 on a site that had undergone significant changes from 1912 to 1937, with the original buildings demolished and the area left undeveloped. During the construction of the shopping center, a wealth of archaeological remains from Greek, Roman, and medieval periods were unexpectedly found. This discovery was hinted at by the previously known Crinas wall, as mentioned by Gérin Ricard in his 1925 book, “Archaeological Promenades.” This led to the establishment of the Marseille History Museum, which was founded with the help of archaeologist and anthropologist Alain Nicolas. The museum initially preserved many of these findings on-site and integrated them into the Vestiges garden.

After closing for a period, the museum was revitalized by architect Roland Carta and reopened in 2013 as part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations. The redesign aimed to forge a strong connection between the city, its museum, and the archaeological site. New museography by scenography architect Adeline Rispal linked the historical port and commercial narratives with the modern architecture of the Bourse shopping center. The museum now presents Marseille’s history through thirteen detailed sections and offers a digital augmented reality tour designed by Alain Dupuy of InnoVision, which runs from the History Museum to the new MuCEM.

Exhibits and Collections

The museum journey starts with a film about the prehistoric times in the Marseille basin. It includes sections on:

  • Gyptis and Protis (600 to 380 BC), focusing on the trade developments initiated by the Ionians around 600 BC. The museum displays a variety of wine amphorae that illustrate the evolution of local wine production and trade with the Gallic populations. Exhibits include amphorae from various periods sourced from Etruria, Clazomenes, and southern Italy.
  • Ceramic and Tableware, highlighting imports and local crafts from the initial centuries following Marseille’s foundation, with displays of Corinthian ceramics, Laconian ceramics, and Ionian cups used for wine drinking from shipwrecks and local findings.

This detailed exposition not only showcases the continuous historical significance of Marseille but also connects visitors to the city’s ancient commercial and cultural vibrancy.

The Le Musée d'Histoire de Marseille (MHM) appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Marseille!

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Visiting Le Musée d'Histoire de Marseille (MHM)


Daily 09:00 – 18:00

Closed Mondays



Address: Musée d'histoire de la Ville de Marseille, Rue Henri Barbusse, Marseille, France
Duration: 20 minutes

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