Offbeat Montereau: Gilles Goracy, the mammoth memory of the Gaïa museum

21:20  27 october  2020
21:20  27 october  2020 Source:   leparisien.fr

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Montereau, le 16 septembre. Gilles Goracy, le président du musée Gaïa de Montereau, ici devant un squelette de Tyrex de douze mètres de long, se réjouit de partager sa passion bénévolement, avec un accès libre au lieu qu’il a aménagé. © LP / Faustine Léo Montereau, September 16. Gilles Goracy, president of the Musée Gaïa de Montereau, here in front of a Tyrex skeleton twelve meters long, is delighted to share his passion on a voluntary basis, with free access to the place he has set up.

There is war only chocolate and camping that are not to the taste of Gilles Goracy, the volunteer president of the Gaïa museum in Montereau. Everything else inspires him with a devouring passion, like the dinosaurs to which he devotes an exhibition until mid-July, skeletons several meters long to support them.

A passion that makes him even want to go on vacation. Gilles Goracy prefers to devote almost sleepless nights to this museum, his "baby" born four years ago thanks to which he fulfills his dream: to make ordinary people understand the millions of years of history of the Earth and its population. .

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Only fishing manages to offer a few hours of respite to his mind where a storm reigns combining science, cooking, crafts, drawing and so much more. “Organizing a vacation is a waste of time. I travel in my head because I am very curious about everything, enthuses this eternal autodidact of 65 years, now retired. I need to understand the world and why we are here ”.

To hear him juggle the millennia like us with the minutes, we have no doubt that he understood it better than the majority of us! “If the dinosaurs hadn't died, we wouldn't be here,” says Gilles Goracy. Yes, we get lost in all these millions of years that precede us. But it's a fabulous story. In what disappears, a part remains and is readjusted. For example, birds are all heirs to the T-Rex. As for the homo sapiens that we are, it is impossible to predict our destiny ”.

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His passion was born by discovering a fossilized sea urchin

In the world of Gilles Goracy, there are also all these animals with strange names that he seems to have adopted so much he talks about them with love: sauropods, archeopteryx, stegosaurs for dinosaurs, helicoprions, megalodons for sharks now fossilized. Its museum is full of copies of skulls from various hominids and real dinosaur claws. Asking a question is like taking a trip to those mysterious worlds that came before us.

Impossible to keep all this knowledge to himself, he wants to share it. And free of charge, since the museum, located in the heart of the Priory Saint-Martin, is freely accessible. “Here, we are in a territory with people who do not have a lot of means, underlines Gilles Goracy. I want visitors to immerse themselves in everything I present to them. I want to open their eyes and why not create vocations ”.

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Like his science teacher who answered his questions when, at the age of 11, he asked him about one of his first “stones”. “I had found a fossilized sea urchin on a flint and passion fell on me,” laughs the one who is now the grandfather of four grandchildren.

The association has around forty members.

Gilles Goracy could also have been a teacher. “I have no regrets. You can't do everything in life, ”he sums up. After studying landscape art, he became an offset driver in the printing press and technical director of the Nangis waste reception center. “I never went to work backwards. Perhaps also because I am of a frenzied optimism, “he says.

An asset to convince his wife, Brigitte, to assist him in this adventure. “She was sucked in by all of this,” recognizes Gilles Goracy. Unlike me, she is not very passionate about these subjects but she supports me. Especially when I'm on my mind because I'm imagining an upcoming exhibition, he laughs. I owe her a debt of gratitude because she corrects all the exhibition panels. But yes, my relatives would like me to lift my foot a little to be more with them ”.

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So he delegates the association's forty members, including paleontologists from the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, who are already helping him by setting up exhibitions. Even if, here again, the display cases were made by Gilles Goracy in his workshop ...

A reconstructed prehistoric camp

As a reward for so much effort, it is proud to have attracted 20,000 visitors since its opening, including 2300 the last two months to admire the dinosaurs. “It is the only museum in Ile-de-France which draws up a general picture of the history of the Earth and with broad themes from paleontology to mineralogy via geology. This is what makes our originality, ”says Gilles Goracy.

One small regret animates this science buff: not having been able to establish a partnership with the archaeological site of Pincevent, in neighboring La Grande-Paroisse, where, 14,000 years ago, our ancestors settled on the banks of the Seine to hunt reindeer.

The museum is home to a reconstructed camp this time. The will of the public authorities to develop, under the aegis of the renowned paleontologist Yves Coppens, the knowledge of the prehistoric occupation of the south of the Ile-de-France could allow Gilles Goracy to see yet one of his wishes come true. .

Musée Gaïa, at the Priory of Saint-Martin de Montereau. Open every Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, as well as the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, until July 18 included. And on request at Free entry.

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