The Odyssey of Sea Turtles - The exhibition

From when they appeared on Earth millions of years ago to the threats posed to their existence, from the magic of spawning to the action taken to protect them, the great adventure of sea turtles is told at the Oceanographic Museum in the brand-new exhibition ”The Odyssey of Sea Turtles”.

As a reflection of the visit to the entirely new space that presents the turtles at the Centre monégasque de soin, the exhibition familiarises visitors with the history of this fascinating and mysterious animal. It delivers the message that although we could be on the verge of causing their extinction as a result of our daily habits, each of us, individually and together, also forms part of the solution to save them.

The Oceanographic Institute, the Prince Albert II Foundation, Explorations de Monaco and all their partner bodies are taking action for turtles via their campaigns without borders, and encourage you to participate actively in their protection.
Catch it until early January 2020!

Survivors from the dinosaur era

Sea turtles have existed for 150 million years and have already survived one massive extinction crisis that saw the dinosaurs and numerous reptiles disappear. This module will show you the remains of some of the ancestors of modern sea turtles, including the reconstruction of a fossil archelon 66 million years old and measuring 5 m by 2.5 m!

a small family

Sea turtles are amongst the oldest animals on the planet and have spent millions of years adapting to become the animals we know today. There are only seven different species of sea turtle in the oceans today. From the shallow sea grass beds of the Indian Ocean to the colourful reefs of the Coral Triangle, the white sandy beaches of the Pacific and the Mediterranean coast, discover the incredible odyssey on which these extraordinary animals still embark.

Serial killers

After surviving multiple natural hazards, sea turtles are now threatened by mankind at every stage of their development, in spite of their status as a protected species.
Their incredible odyssey knows no frontiers and has become a veritable obstacle course, both on land and in the sea.
This module focuses on the obstacles that punctuate their life cycle, exposing the numerous threats with which we confront them, such as occupation of the shoreline, poaching, the impacts of fishing, pollution, plastic waste, etc.

Monaco, a haven for turtles

Under the impetus of HRH Prince Albert II of Monaco, the spokesman for the cause of the oceans in dealings with international bodies, Monaco players are combining their efforts to protect sea turtles…This exhibition shows the extent of the action being taken via campaigns aimed at the general public, at decision-makers and at the players of tomorrow.

We are the solution

At the Museum, anyone can now get involved to protect turtles in an original way and make your commitment public right away.

At the end of the visit, when the threats faced by turtles have become clear, because we are all part of the problem, we invite everyone to commit to being part of the solution. 6 commitments to simple everyday gestures that contribute to achieving a common goal: every photo taken goes to make up a mosaic illustrating a sea turtle…

At the Oceanographic Institute, we believe in the power of the individual and the impact that each individual can have in the choices they make every day!

See also



The exhibition ”The Littoral Zone” by Marc Quinn, which lasted from 12 May to 15 October 2012, drew in 377,000 visitors to the Museum.

It gave all these visitors food for thought as to the origins and cycle of life, via some captivating works.

Faithful to the wish of its founder Prince Albert Ist, who wanted to ”combine in a single splendour the two guiding forces of civilisation: Art and Science”, the Temple of the Sea opened the doors of the fascinating universe of Marc Quinn to the public. 

The mere title of the event was an invitation to explore each room of the Museum as a space where the boundaries between the land and the sea, life and death and museum and modernity disappeared like waves washing up on the shore.


In total, around sixty paintings, sculptures and installations were on display in the rooms of the Museum, and on its large forecourt and panoramic terrace. 

They included colossal marbles illustrating the growth of the foetus over the nine months of pregnancy, fascinatingly realistic oil paintings and even the artist’s famous self-portrait, made from his own frozen blood. 

The work Burning Desire, a flamboyant hybrid red orchid over four metres in size, has even become a permanent part of the landscape in the Principality of Monaco, where it is now installed in the famous Place du Casino.

A dialogue between the past and the present, ”The Littoral Zone” breaks the mould by combining historical collections with contemporary works. Visitors were able to dream, enrich their knowledge and marvel at this large-scale exhibition, a truly alchemical blend of the artist’s universe and the world of the oceans.

See also


The Odyssey of Sea Turtles

08_Animation _bassin_tactile_20120719_M_Dagnino



Going beyond misunderstandings

Between 2013 and 2017, the Oceanographic Museum hosted a sensorial exhibition where its visitors could meet sharks.

This new experience helped numerous visitors overcome their prejudices and discover the true nature of these saviours of the deep.

The flagship attraction was without a doubt the ”Petting Pool”, where visitors were encouraged to overcome their fears and place their hands in a special pool where they could touch some real sharks. There were no great whites, obviously, but some species, even though they were small (particularly pyjama sharks) led a great many visitors to change their attitude and their beliefs with regard to sharks.

In our imagination, sharks are often confined to a series of terrifying images, the tenacious legacy of Hollywood thrillers. By showing an exhibition devoted to sharks, the Museum has helped a great many visitors look beyond this bad reputation. Far fewer people fall victim to sharks than to jellyfish (50), mosquitos (800,000) or even road accidents (1.2 million) – sharks kill fewer than 10 people per year. 

These large predators, essential for the health of ecosystems, are now endangered. Over 100 million sharks are killed by man every year. To raise public awareness of the importance of protecting them, the Oceanographic Museum has chosen to make this animal one of the themes on which it focuses, including via this exhibition. 

This exhibition is no longer on display at the Oceanographic Museum. You can still however see sharks and find out a lot of information about these essential creatures. Visit our website to learn more about them and about our campaigns to promote their conservation.

See also


The Odyssey of Sea Turtles

08_Animation _bassin_tactile_20120719_M_Dagnino



After its roaring success at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, the exhibition ”On Sharks & Humanity” travelled to Moscow, Russia, before returning to Beijing to be displayed at the National Museum of China.

View our documentary opposite and take a behind-the-scenes look at how the exhibition was put on.

This exceptional exhibition was a huge success in Monaco, drawing in over 490,000 visitors.


“On Sharks & Humanity” was then displayed to Russian audiences on 28 May 2015 at the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation in Moscow.
Here again, the works from contemporary Chinese artists were designed to make people thing about the problems facing sharks and other species of fish endangered by human activities.


As part of its ”Sharks” exhibition, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco presented the artistic initiative ”On Sharks & Humanity”. This was more than an art exhibition; it was a face-to-face juxtaposition with sharks.. 


This international exhibition, whose main theme is sharks and their conservation, features 11 unique works created specifically for the Museum by 10 avant-garde Chinese artists and one Monaco artist. Each work casts a singular regard on our complex relationship with sharks and, by extension, on our relationship with nature.


Visitors actively choose the form of their visit and are addressed directly by the works. As soon as they arrive, they are captured in a giant fishing net. Trapped by the power of the and the symbolic scope of the works, they become aware of the essential role played by sharks in regulating marine ecosystems and the negative impact of overfishing. From the entrance hall to the panoramic terrace, via the rooms of the Museum, large-scale installations, sculptures, paintings and poems intertwine, raising questions as to the justification of human actions.


”On Sharks & Humanity” was complementary to the sensorial and scientific exhibition of the Museum within which it was hosted, and also gave visitors the chance to express themselves by writing on a board, for all to see, their own plea to save sharks, in accordance with the principle of ”Everyone is involved and everyone is responsible.”.

This exhibition, launched by Parkview Arts Action, draws on the works of a collective of modern Chinese artists and focuses on sharks and their preservation.

Supported by the Parkview Arts Action organisation and hosted in collaboration with the international charity WildAid, ”On Sharks & Humanity” uses the universal language of Art to raise public awareness across borders and cultures.

See also


The Odyssey of Sea Turtles

08_Animation _bassin_tactile_20120719_M_Dagnino




The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco presents the monographic exhibition Borderline, by artist Philippe Pasqua.

His large-scale works, most of which are made to order, will be juxtaposed with the museum’s legendary collections to give rise to a unique dialogue.

The art of Philippe Pasqua plays with limits. It nudges boundaries, pushes frontiers and frees itself from them. His work, violent and immodest, is in equal parts troubling and fascinating, and confronts visitors with the dilemma of whether to soak up the work or look away, a reflex more from defence than from indifference.

“Philippe Pasqua questions, interrogates and disturbs but never leaves visitors indifferent. It is the ideal detonator to shock people into awareness of marine and land life”,  in the words of Robert Calcagno, Managing Director of the Oceanographic Museum.


The artist was charmed by the architecture of the Oceanographic Museum and supports its cause, and has created an exhibition in the museum’s image, sincere and plural. 

Twelve large-scale works, including seven original creations, are displayed all across the Museum – from the forecourt to the panoramic terrace, via the Le Rocher cliff, overlooked by the century-old building.


For Philippe Pasqua, his taste for large-scale works is juxtaposed with his attraction to the most vulnerable and profound things. Cracks and splinters are shown in size XXL. The artist is instinctive and does not think through his work, giving visitors carte blanche to interpret them, as he believes that art transcends the verbal and the visual.”The beautiful part is the evocative power of it”, he admits. The beauty of a work of art lies in the emotion it generates, the way it speaks to the heart.

The solution is in every one of us

The artist expresses his full sensitivity here and questions the public on their relationship with nature, death and rebirth.

 ”Using these cherished items, he plays with the ambiguous relationship that mankind maintains with the marine world, somewhere between fear and fascination, to confront the public with the current challenges of protecting biodiversity, adds Robert Calcagno.

These ecological challenges, which have been an integral part of the Museum’s identity since it was founded, can be found in these creations.

See also


The Odyssey of Sea Turtles

08_Animation _bassin_tactile_20120719_M_Dagnino



Australia, Oceania and the art of the peoples of the sea


Between 24 March and 30 September 2016, Aboriginal and Oceanian art was honoured at the Museum in TABA NABA, a major exhibition on the theme of the ocean and water.

The project was structured around three complementary sections, developed with three partners recognised for their work in this very particular form of art.


The first instalment was devoted entirely to creating and presenting six large-scale installations created by 50 major Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists who, through their works, are raising a cry of alarm against the pollution of the oceans. Rather than taking a morbid look at these environmental issues, the artists chose to approach them with humour and subtlety. This first chapter was designed to unfold like a fairy tale. The works on a massive scale that will be displayed inside and outside the museum will give visitors the impression that they have been transported to the poetic world of Alice in Wonderland.

Living Waters

“Living Waters” presents a selection of modern Aboriginal paintings taken from the Sordello & Missana Collection alongside works from Australian artists invited to contribute that illustrate the intercultural themes of the exhibition and their relationship with water. In addition to an installation realised by a collective of artists, which is the central point of the exhibition, videos and photographs from famous young native artists raise questions of the sacred and the profane and open a window towards new contemporary artistic practices.
Paintings from Aboriginal artists from the private collection of HRH Prince Albert II of Monaco are also being displayed.


Playing the visions of Oceania islanders and Australian Aborigines off against each other and highlighting their similarities without hiding their differences is the aim of this voyage through works from times past and modern works.. Didiez Zanette focuses on the cultural relations maintained by the Pacific peoples with the sea, by displaying traditional navigational items, artifacts from the Salomon Islands, a series of New Guinean portraits and an extensive collection of Baining marine animal images.

Exhibition spaces


defending the ocean as a central theme of the art of the Aborigines and Torrest Strait Islanders”, curated by Stéphane Jacob, assisted by Suzanne O’Connell

”Living Waters”

a project from the Sordello Missana Collection, curated by Dr Erica Izett, assisted by Dr Georges Petitjean and Donna Carstens


Islanders past masters in navigation and artistic expression”, curated by Didier Zanette

See also


The Odyssey of Sea Turtles

08_Animation _bassin_tactile_20120719_M_Dagnino



An Explorations de Monaco mission

The logbook of an expedition

In keeping with the spirit of the historical expeditions of his great-great-grandfather Prince Albert I, HRH Prince Albert II has relaunched Les Explorations de Monaco. One of these expeditions took him to Badu, one of the Torres Strait Islands, in the State of Queensland (northern Australia). When he arrived, HRH Prince Albert II immersed himself in the culture of the Islanders, who believe in having a balanced and respectful relationship with nature. Accompanied by Robert Calcagno, the managing director of the Institut océanographique, he drew great inspiration from the experience. The exhibition on display since 27 April 2019 at the Oceanographic Museum is a testament to this: it also evokes the memory of an initial encounter on Monaco territory.

The memory of Taba Naba

In 2016, the Oceanographic Museum hosted Taba Naba, with the support of the
Australian Government and the State of Queensland. Three major exhibitions were
held at the same time and explored the unique relationship that binds the peoples of the sea to their environment.
The message combined ancestral tradition and modernity. Alick Tipoti created a
magnificent ‘linocut’ measuring 17 x 40 metres on the Museum’s immense terrace. Alick
Tipoti is one of the most famous artists from the Torres Strait Islands. He is
actively involved in renewing the cultural heritage, traditions and language of these islands. Through his art, he explores traditional cosmology and recounts how
oral culture, music, dance and visual arts intermingle to deliver the fundamental knowledge
of the marine environment that is essential to the peoples’ survival. With no real hope of
success, he invited HRH Prince Albert II to visit him on his island, to
appreciate the richness of its culture and its environment, as well as its fragility…

Of what is this region symbolic?

The Torres Strait Islands, located between Australia and Papua New Guinea, are
at the crossroads between the Coral Sea and the Arafura Sea. The population, estimated at
seven thousand inhabitants, is concentrated on only fourteen of the islands. The inhabitants of the strait, hardened since their
most tender youth to the harsh conditions of their natural environment and swims with ‘salties’
(sea crocodiles) and sharks, have a
quasi-inseparable relationship with their environment, which feeds them both physiologically and
spiritually.Torres Strait Islanders remain attached to the concept of clans, particularly the family kwod with its totems (crocodile, turtle, dugong, ray,

emu, etc.). The prerogative of the chief of the clan and the Council of Elders
still prevails on numerous subjects, including with regard to ‘native title’, the
common law right to own land.


Today, there are at least time
six times as many of the original population of the Torres Strait on the Australian continent than in their region of origin, which creates the risk that
their traditions and ancestral culture will disappear. This territory is also
particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change: island coastline
eaten away by erosion from the high tides, disappearing coral following
repeated bleaching incidents… During an aquatic tour of the
magnificent sea beds surround the island of Badu, HRH Prince Albert II was able to observe the
effects of global warming on the coral reefs, which have suffered from severe
bleaching over the past few years. Badu is also home to the dugong, seen
as sacred and with which several clans identify. It is the only herbivorous marine mammal, and
is currently endangered. There is a protected nature reserve

to dugongs west of the Torres Strait.


An Explorations de Monaco mission

Following up from the Taba Naba event, HRH Prince Albert II wanted to lead an Explorations de Monaco mission to the island of Badu, to meet the people of Alick Tipoti. A photo exhibition showing the highlights of the trip is on display in the Museum’s Conference Room.

Les Explorations de Monaco is a platform devoted to the commitment of HSH Prince Albert II to the knowledge, sustainable management and protection of the Ocean. Founded on an initiative from the Government of the Principality of Monaco, Les Explorations de Monaco combines the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Oceanographic Institute, the Centre Scientifique de Monaco and the Yacht Club de Monaco. It provides support for the work done by these institutions internationally, organising scientific research, mediation with the general public and governmental cooperation.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Youtube

The Elders'

Of the numerous discussions that took place at the location, the one that HRH Prince Albert II of Monaco held with the Elders of the Badu community remains one of the most striking. The Elders told him: ”We are in touch with nature and are thus in the perfect position to observe the disruption to the seasons and changes to the panoply of natural elements that surround us. We are the best witnesses. Climate disruption, for us, is above all synonymous with a loss of identity and the disappearance of our roots. We are afraid for our culture and our way of living. Unfortunately, few people listen to us. We have to get more people to witness what we are experiencing. What is affecting us. That is why your visit is so important to us. It opens a window on our communities and lets the world know that things are not OK ! »

What is a ''people of the sea''?

Bruno David and Ian J. McNiven, from Monash University, (Melbourne, Australia) are helping us gain a better definition of the identity of these indigenous peoples, defined as a ”people of the sea”: ”This means, first of all, that they spend most of their day interacting with the sea, crossing it and exploiting its potential, using traditional techniques like babagul, which involves using specific expertise and knowledge of magic used on board ships or when harpooning dugongs from naath platforms. It also means thinking about the elemental forces that govern everyday life: waves, sea winds, the clouds that come and go above distant oceans, the stars that guide us, the tides, the animals that are both familiar and dangerous : fish tortoises and sharks. To be a people of the sea, you need to have peculiar affinities with the sea; it is not enough merely to source your food from it. You have to think via the sea.

See also


The Aquariums of the Museum


Les Explorations de Monaco


The Odyssey of Sea Turtles

Previous exhibitions



Do you like it? Do you think you know it? It is threatened.

From 18 November 2010 to 8 April 2013, our visitors got the chance to discover the beauty and richness of the Mediterranean and take action to ensure it remains a living sea.

It represents only 0.8% of the area of the world’s oceans, but is brimming with sometimes unsuspected treasures. The gorgeous but fragile Mediterranean is a source of fascination and the theatre for many an exploration.

For the general public, however, it is difficult to comprehend the extraordinary wealth of this ”landlocked sea” stretching over a vast expanse of 2.5 million km² between Europe, Africa and Asia.

With this exhibition, the Oceanographic Museum is raising the curtain on the splendors of the wide blue ocean and the challenges it is currently facing.

From the proliferation of jellyfish to the acidification of the oceans, via overfishing of red tuna, all topical issues have been address in interviews, films, or remarkable collector’s items.

The highlight of the show is a ballet of Aurelia aurita jellyfish. Enchanting!

See also


The Odyssey of Sea Turtles

08_Animation _bassin_tactile_20120719_M_Dagnino



An Explorations de Monaco mission


An Explorations de Monaco mission


An Explorations de Monaco mission


An Explorations de Monaco mission


Beginning on 17 December 2019, the Conference Room at the Oceanographic Museum will be housing a new exhibition from Les Explorations de Monaco, open to the public for the very first time!

You will be able to admire around twenty very large-scale photographs. Some show the inauguration of a marine protected area in Martinique in the presence of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, in homage to Albert Falco, the famous second-in-command of Jacques Cousteau; others bear witness to the scientific mission carried out by Les Explorations of Monaco several months later on the site, focusing on sea turtles and on studying green turtles using new on-board camera techniques and other connected objects. This is your chance to observe the research and mediation work done by Les Explorations de Monaco.

Martinique: two highlights

This exhibition explores how ties between the Principality of Monaco and Martinique were reinforced in 2017 and 2018 during two highlights:

  • the inauguration of the Le Prêcheur – Albert Falco Marine Nature Reserve by HSH Prince Albert II on 27 October 2017; and
  • the mission carried out on 2-18 October 2018 by the staff of the Hubert Curien Pluridisciplinary Institute (IPHC/CNRS, University of Strasbourg), Ifremer and Les Explorations de Monaco to study the behaviour of green turtles.
(c) EDM

Inauguration of the
Albert Falco Reserve

On 27 October 2017, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco travelled to the north of the “island of flowers” to inaugurate the Le Prêcheur – Albert Falco Territorial Marine Nature Reserve and thus pay homage to the memory of the captain of the Calypso and the faithful companion of Commander Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

This visit symbolised the Principality’s strong commitment to developing Marine Protected Areas throughout the world.

Today, we have witnessed enough of their effects to be able to say that marine reserves and protected areas are the best ways of regulating overfishing and protecting ecosystems.

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, 27 October 2017, Martinique.


The famous diver and captain of the Calypso, the ship of Commander J-Y Cousteau, Albert Falco was one of the instigators of the project to create the Le Prêcheur Territorial Nature Reserve that today bears his name. This lover of the sea and of Martinique left a lasting impression on everyone fortunate to know him. The residents of Martinique have not forgotten his commitment to protecting and promoting the island’s aquatic heritage.


Five of the seven species of sea turtle visit the Martinique shoreline. Three of these species are observed very regularly: the hawksbill turtle, the leatherback turtle and the green turtle, which is the most common species in this area. In the south-west of the island, Les Anses-d’Arlet is the main feeding area for the young of this species before they reach maturity. It was mainly here that scientists studied the turtles as part of their mission in October 2018.



Revisit these highlights of Les Explorations de Monaco from 2017 and 2018, now on display to the public for the first time.

The fate of many sea turtles depends not only on scientific knowledge but also on campaigns to spread that knowlege. This mission for Les Explorations de Monaco combined these two aspects of protecting the ocean particularly well.

Les Explorations de Monaco is a platform platform working to further the commitment of HSH Prince Albert II to knowledge, sustainable management and protection of the  ocean. It was created on initiative from the Government of the Principality of Monaco, and encompasses the Prince Albert II Foundation, the Oceanographic Institute, the Centre Scientifique de Monaco and the Yacht Club de Monaco. 

two intense weeks

Two intense weeks of scientific work on site, packed with discoveries and information, contributed towards improving the knowledge and protection of this species. Innovative technologies combining on-board cameras and connected objects were used. These two weeks also gave rise to awareness campaigns for the younger generations.

Damien Chevallier (IPHC) discovered that green turtles born on the coast of Guyana spend several years growing in the sea grass beds of the West Indies, including on the site of Les Anses-d’Arlet. Every year, samples of micro-fragments of tissue, skin and shell are taken from several individuals. Analysing these fragments gives more information on where the individual turtles come from and the health of the turtle population overall. The presence of contaminants or viruses can be detected. The turtles are captured by free divers and brought to the surface.

See also


The Museum's Aquariums


Monaco Explorations


Odyssey of the Turtles

Previous exhibitions


The artist Huang Yong Ping, who designed and created the work “Wu Zei” for the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, passed away this weekend. All the staff at the Oceanographic Institute paid homage to him today.
Huang Yong Ping, a Chinese artist famed for his large-scale works, had installed a specially-designed giant octopus measuring approximately 25 metres in length in pride of place in the Museum’s VIP lounge for the centenary celebrations. The work, which was on display for almost two years, made a big impression on visitors. The artist’s wish was for this sculpture to make the public think about man-made maritime disasters and the critical condition of our oceans.

This work brought to the fore the initial desire of Prince Albert I, the Museum’s founder: “To combine in a single splendour the two driving forces of civilisation: Art and Science.”

Musée océanographique - photo de Huang Yong Ping

Previous exhibitions