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Задание 1522

A satellite facility” in phrase “… they opened a satellite facility” (paragraph 6) refers to … 

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How a Paris abbey became a science museum


A trip to Europe without visiting museums would be like a trip to Fiji without visiting a beach. It just seems wrong to ignore such an embarrassment of riches. So when I was in France last year, I dutifully walked through museums, but I soon noticed a strange phenomenon. Every time I think about going to a museum, it seems like a fascinating way to spend an afternoon, but once I get there, I almost always find myself getting very sleepy by the time I get to the second gallery. I try to be enthusiastic but usually I’m no match for the long halls of display cases.

There is an exception to this rule, though: science museums. I love inventions and gadgets, getting to know how things work and how people went about solving very difficult problems. I can stay awake in a good science museum indefinitely. So while in Paris, I visited the Conservatory of Arts and Trades. Part of this centuries-old institution is a museum that’s open to the public, and it contains a fascinating variety of objects and exhibits including the original Foucault’s Pendulum.

The Conservatory is off the beaten path; most English guidebooks don’t even mention it. It does, however, attract a certain number of pilgrims who were fascinated by Umberto Eco’s novel Foucault’s Pendulum, part of which takes place there. In the novel, a secret passage under the floor of the nave connects with the Paris sewers. That isn’t the case in reality, but truth is perhaps more interesting than fiction. There is something under the floor of the nave, a curious part of the building’s long and strange history.

The foundation for the abbey church of St. Martin of the Fields was laid around 1059, about the time of the Norman conquest. Over the next centuries, numerous additions and renovations were undertaken. All that changed in the French Revolution when under the name of Conservatory of Arts and Trades, it became a depository for machines, models, tools, drawings, descriptions and books in all the areas of the arts and trades. It officially opened in 1802.

The museum closed for a renovation in 1993, and as part of the process, archaeological excavations were undertaken beneath the floor of the nave. For the entire history of the church, there had been stories that the site on which it stood was once a Merovingian funerary basilica, but this had never been proven. What archaeologists discovered was a large necropolis dating from the 6th or 7th century with about 100 plaster coffins inside. The tales were indeed true.

When the museum reopened a few years later, it was a typical shiny and   up-to-date science museum. But it was decided that their thousands of additional articles should be made available to scholars even when they’re not on exhibit. So they opened a satellite facility in the nearby town of Saint-Denis, where by appointment only qualified researchers can go to examine the rest of the museum’s collection.

I’ve been to the Conservatory in 2000 and in 2003. As a science museum I found it a sheer delight. The former abbey is only a portion of the museum, and the museum is only a portion of the Conservatory. But all the history of the building and the institution seems to be concentrated in the large nave with its bones beneath and gadgets above. The odd contrast of centuries of monastic simplicity with centuries of technological progress tickles me in a way I can’t easily describe. Perhaps the Pendulum says it best: as a scientific wonder that’s also meditatively simple, it symbolically bridges the illusory divide between technology and spirituality.



a minor educational site.
a research area.
a place for additional exhibits. - Правильный ответ
the museum’s laboratory.
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