Exhibition “The Deep”

In 2001, then wildlife and scientific film director, Claire Nouvian visited the Monterey Bay aquarium in California (USA), where she saw a film with spectacular images of out-of-this-world creatures that lived to 4000 meters of depth.

Fascinated by this new world, Claire searched many documents looking for answers to her innumerable questions about the deep sea; to her dismay, there was none. With this in mind, she has collaborated with renowned international researchers to bring together the most varied and extensive bank of deep-sea images ever gathered. This tremendous work lead her to create the book THE DEEP, which has been released in 11 languages and printed in more than 150 000 ex, the first visual encyclopedia of the deep sea. Through the course of her work as an author, Claire Nouvian had fully devised the exhibition THE DEEP.

The Deep is a traveling exhibition with the world’s first and unique collection of deep-sea creatures which has had more than two millions visitors!


Based on the vast iconographic search carried out for the eponymous book, the exhibition Into The Deep focuses on the oceans’ great depths and their associated fauna, ecosystems and biological phenomena. It showcases a selection of previously unseen photographs, some of which are exclusive to the event, as well as extraordinary video footage collected from research institutes around the world. The jewel of the exhibition is the display of rare deep-sea animal species, which gives visitors the chance to establish direct and unforgettable contact with the otherwise distant deep-sea fauna.

Held at the Natural History Museum in Paris from November 2007 to May 2008, the exhibition THE DEEP was conceived in order to reach an even greater audience than the book Claire Nouvian had produced did… The exhibition also created the opportunity of a direct contact between the public and the collection of fantastic animals THE DEEP has on display.

The exhibition started its international tour throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East after its French beginning. Considering the immensity of China, it has been decided to offer the Chinese public the opportunity to discover the splendor of the deep-sea world during three years and in the major cities of the country, showcasing the exhibition in the various Museums of Science and Natural History who have chosen to host it.

The main objective of the exhibition is to generate public interest for a remote fauna which is still largely unknown and extremely difficult to access, even today. By revealing the richness of the marine biodiversity and the extraordinary creatures residing in the very deep ocean, the exhibition enthralls the public around the world and makes people aware of the urgency to protect the marine environment, although most of the damage remains unknown and invisible to us, because it is hidden from view, below the surface of water.

Visit The Deep Exhibition in Paris at the National Museum of Natural History (2007): http://abysses.mnhn.fr/index-en.php

Visit The Deep China Tour (here: http://www.thedeepchinatour.com/index.asp?lang=eng)

Preparing the specimens

It took years to collect the astounding array of fantastic deep-sea creatures, some of which have never been displayed before. Some specimens were donated, others were gathered by Claire Nouvian on oceanographic missions, such as the mission led by Dr Brad Seibel of Rhode Island University, the dive led by Steve Haddock of The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in the Monterey Canyon, and the orange roughy stock assessment campaign conducted by the NIWA (http://www.niwa.cri.nz) in New Zealand. Other specimens were trawled during the Aurora campaign in the Philippines conducted by Philippe Bouchet of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.

Creatures of the cold and darkness, linked to a very popular environment, the inhabitants of the deep sea can not survive in aquariums, moreover their method of conservation is extremely complex.
The animals brought together for the exhibition INTO THE DEEP have been fished during scientific studies by the samplers of submersibles, or trawled with care during oceanographic missions led from corners of the world.
Theses specimens have then been preserved using innovative methods, allowing them to retain their natural appearance. But particularly, the team from the exhibition INTO THE DEEP helped by the taxidermists at the National History Museum, France, worked on the perfection of a technique to encapsulate some of these creatures in resin, and therefore show them as close to their real appearance as possible.
The presentation of these animals is unique, thanks to the talented taxidermist Christophe Gottini at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, and his son Allan. The animals are suspended in tanks using invisible threads attached to walls of molded resin along the edges of the aquariums. The creatures have not been stuffed and so what you see is completely natural – no retouching! Take a look at the pictures to find out more.

Visit the taxidermy workshop : http://abysses.mnhn.fr/coulisses-techniques-en.php

We would like to thank the following people for kindly donating specimens: Samuel Iglésias, Edith Widder, Tracey Sutton, Tamara Frank, Steve Haddock, Philippe Bouchet, Michel Segonzac, David Shale, The University of Bergen, Craig Smith, Dhugal Lindsay, Di Tracey, Ian Doonan, Paul Grimes, Peter McMillan, Matt Dunn, Brad Seibel, Nikki King, Tokyo Sea Life Park.

The Deep's Impact

THE DEEP Exhibition Schedule Place Town Country Number of visitors
February - August 2016 Museum d'Histoire naturelle Neuchâtel Suisse 49 154
June 2015 - October 2015 Singapore ArtScience Museum Marina Bay Sands Singapour Singapour 150 000
October 2014 – 13 September 2015 La Cité de l’Océan Biarritz France 66 000
February 2012 – March 2013
 Aquarium d'Océanopolis Brest France 189 000
June – November 2012
 Guangdong Museum Guangzhou Chine 212 000
May – October 2011 Musée du château des ducs de Wurtemberg Montbéliard France 58 500
July – November 2011 The Yunnan Province Museum Kunming Chine 280 000
February – March 2011
 The Former Casablanca Aquarium Casablanca Maroc 55 000
September 2010 – January 2011 The Zhejiang Science and Technology Museum Hangzhou Chine 83 000
June – December 2010 The Bloomfield Science Museum Jérusalem Israël 170 000
April – September 2010 The Shanghai Science and Technology Museum Shanghai Chine 550 000
October 2009 – February 2010 Les Docks Vauban Le Havre France 37 000
April – July 2009
 The National Taiwan Museum Taipei Taïwan 60 000
August – November 2009 The National Science Museum Taichung Taïwan 90 000
December 2009 – February 2010 The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium Ping Tong Taïwan 80 000
November 2008 – March 2009 The Natural History Museum Luanda Angola 5 628
July – November 2008
 The Hong Kong Science Museum Hong Kong Chine > 300 000
May – July 2008 The WTO (for the Doha cycle’s negotiation of subsidies to the fishing sector) Geneva Suisse
November 2007 – May 2008 Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle Paris France 110 000