The institution, the missions

The National Center of Stage Costume is the first preservation structure, in France or abroad, to be entirely devoted to the material heritage of theaters.

Its mission is the preservation, study and valorization of a heritage collection of 10,000 theater, opera and ballet costumes in addition to painted stage sets, provided by the three founding institutions of the center, the National Library of France, the Comédie-Française and the National Opera of Paris. The center has also received numerous donations from artists and theaters.


The CNCS fulfills a triple mission of preservation and growth, study and valorization of its collections to the public. A unique museographic and scientific tool open to the general public, professionals and research sectors alike.

Emblematic of cultural decentralization, the CNCS is a Public Institution for Cultural Cooperation (EPCC), a major and innovative national tool responding to the double role of territorial development and cultural renown. Since 2009, the CNCS is also « museum of France ».

The missions and activities of the CNCS are:

- The constitution and expansion growth of collections thanks to a constant dialogue with the founding institutions and in response to requests made by other structures or actors from the world of live performing art.
- The preservation of collections via a policy of preventive preservation and restoration.
- The valorization of collections by the presentation of the Nureyev Collection and a program of temporary exhibitions organized at the CNCS or in other countries, a program of cultural activities and pedagogical workshops offered to different types of public.
- The study of collections and a contribution to scientific research via the constitution of specific documentation, the development of research projects with further educational institutions, schools and universities, specialized courses and professionals.

The transmission and the pedagogy relating to this universe that is little known to the general public are also a part of the missions of the CNCS. It endeavors to transmit a remembrance of the trades and talents of costume creators or workshops, designers, visual artists, dressmakers and art craftsmen. This remembrance is not restricted to the artistic and historical dimension of stage costumes.

The CNCS is also a vibrant place, a place of welcome not only for people coming to visit exhibitions but also pupils and students from nursery school right up to the Louvre school. The CNCS is also active in the training of professionals working in preservation and art and crafts.

To resume, a formidable tool at the service of the culture of costumes, open to all and for all.