In 1924, the socialite and philanthropist Anne Tracy Morgan (1873-1952) and her friend Dr. Anne Murray Dike (1879-1929) founded the Franco-American Museum du Château de Blérancourt. In 1919, they had founded the American Committee for Devastated France, known in France as Comité Américain pour les Régions Dévastées de France (C.A.R.D.), which helped people in Picardy, a region of northern France, recover from the Great War.
The Franco-American Museum amassed a collection of archival documents and artworks that related to or reflected our relationship with our oldest ally. It concentrated on French contributions to our war effort in the American War of Independence, Americans in Paris during the French Revolution, and American humanitarian aid to the French during the Great War.
In 1929, Miss Morgan donated the museum to the French Government. In July of 1930, Miss Morgan officially transferred the museum to the French Government, as The New York Times reported.
French Premiere André Tardieu (1876-1945) opened the museum, at which time he paid tribute to Mrs. Dike, who had died on February 8, 1929, for her work in restoring Picardy, as reported in The New York Times. Andre Girodie was the first curator, The New York Times reported. The collections grew with the help of a support organization called les Amis du Musée (“the Friends of the Museum”).
In French, the name of the Franco-American Museum of the Château de Blérancourt is the Musée Franco-American du Château de Blérancourt (“Franco-American Museum of the Château of Blérancourt”). From 1983 to 1993, the art historian and essayist Pierre Rosenberg served as Director.
At his behest, in September of 1985, American Friends of Blérancourt, Inc. formed in New York City as a tax-exempt organization. Its purpose is to raise money for the museum, with a focus on infrastructure.
According to the American Friends of Blérancourt, “An ambitious blueprint was established for a total refurbishment of the museum buildings, landscaping of the grounds and the exploitation of the collections and archival material for educational purposes.”
In 1986, American Ambassador Joe M. Rodgers (1933-2009) opened an arboretum of American trees, which was soon followed by three American gardens. Combined, these are called Jardins du Nouveau Monde (“Gardens of the New World”).
American Ambassador Walter Curley and French Minister of Culture Jack Lang opened the Florence Gould Pavilion, which houses exhibits on both of the Great World Wars, in 1989. According to the American Friends of Blérancourt, they “are presented enriched by memorabilia and documents from the American Field Service. Here too is displayed part of the art collection: works by 19th and 20th century American artists in France and French artists in America, illustrating the creative interchanges between the two countries.”
In 1990 former First Lady Nancy Reagan inaugurated the Library Pavilion, which is located in one of the two 17th Century gatehouses. According to the American Friends of Blérancourt, “It houses thousands of historical documents and museum archives, which can be consulted on special request.”
Since 2006, the Musée Franco-American du Château de Blérancourt has been undergoing a second phase of renovations that should be finished in 2016. Exhibits will be augmented with interactive technologies.
Additions to the chateau are supposed to blend in with the original architecture. Exhibits at the Musée Franco-American du Château de Blérancourt include a recreation of a C.A.R.D. children’s library and a World War I ambulance such as American Field Service volunteers would have driven.
The American Friends of Blérancourt arranged for the exhibit Anne Morgan’s War: Rebuilding Devastated France, 1917-1924 at The Morgan Library & Museum from Friday, September 3, 2010 to Sunday, November 21, 2010, for which the Franco-American Museum du Château de Blérancourt provided photographs. The Franco-American Museum du Château de Blérancourt and The Newberry Library developed the exhibit American Women Rebuilding France, 1917-1924, which is at The Newberry Library from Wednesday, September 17, 2014 through Saturday, January 3, 2015.
The exhibit has the support of the American Friends of Blérancourt, La Délégation des Alliances Françaises USA, The Federation of the Alliances Françaises USA, The Florence Gould Foundation, The French Ministry of Culture and Communication, and RMN l’Agence Photographique de France. This is a companion of the exhibit Chicago, Europe, and the Great War, which Newberry staff members Diane Dillon and Rachel Bohlmann developed in-house.
They are both in The Newberry Library’s Hermon Dunlap Smith Gallery. Both The Morgan Library & Museum and The Newberry Library refer to the Franco-American Museum du Château de Blérancourt as the Franco-American Museum, Château de Blérancourt.
 In 1986-87, Pierre Rosenberg served as the Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Cambridge. From 1994 to 2001, Rosenberg served as Director of the Louvre. Pierre Rosenberg is one of the forty Immortals in the Académie française (French Academy), the official guardians of the French language. In his entry, the Franco-American Museum of the Château de Blérancourt is listed as musée national de l’Amitié franco-américaine de Blérancourt (“National Museum of Franco-American Friendship at Blérancourt”)