The Quai Branly Museum opened in 2006, and is the newest of the major museums in Paris. It received 1.15 million visitors in 2016. It is jointly administered by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, and serves as both a museum and a center for research. The Musée du quai Branly is located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, on the left bank of the Seine, close to the Eiffel Tower and the Pont de l'Alma. The nearest Paris Métro and RER stations are Alma – Marceau and Pont de l'Alma.
Following the tradition of French presidents building museums as monuments to their time in office, as exemplified by Presidents Georges Pompidou (Centre Georges Pompidou); Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (Musée d'Orsay) and François Mitterrand (Grand Louvre), the project for a new museum celebrating the arts of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania was brought to completion by President Jacques Chirac.
A number of French intellectuals and scientists, including André Malraux, André Breton, and Claude Lévi-Strauss, had called for a single and important museum in Paris dedicated to the arts and cultures of non-European societies, drawing upon the large collections gathered by French explorers, missionaries and ethnologists. A proposal for such a museum had been made by the ethnologist and art collector Jacques Kerchache in a 1990 manifesto in the newspaper Libération, called "The masterpieces of the entire world are born free and equal." The manifesto was signed by three hundred artists, writers, philosophers, anthropologists and art historians. Kerchache brought the idea to the attention of Jacques Chirac, then Mayor of Paris, and became his advisor. Chirac was elected president of France in 1995, and in the following year announced the creation of a new museum combining the collections of two different museums:
The two museums and collections were very different in their purposes and approaches; the MAAO was first and foremost an art collection, run by art historians and conservators, while the Museum of Man was run by ethnologists and anthropologists, and was most interested in the social-cultural context and uses of the objects. As a result of this division, the new museum was put under two different ministries; the Ministry of Education, which oversaw the ethnological teaching and research; and the Ministry of Culture and Communication, which oversaw the art.