Emmanuel Liais (1826 – 1900), a former mayor of Cherbourg, an astronomer, and a passionate botanist took advantage of his travels to return home with several South American and Asian plants. Between 1880 and 1893 he created a magnificent botanical garden, with greenhouses, an observatory and a lake. His former home, situated at one end of the park was converted to the Museum of Ethnography, Natural History and Archaeology and houses his amazing collections of animals and ethnic artifats from over five continents to Oceania. The presentation of objects has changed very little since its opening in 1910. The museum today keeps the spirit of the “curiosity cabinets” from the Victorian age, giving privilege to the accumulation of all kinds of objects. This deliberate choice of presentation creates the atmosphere of a museum within a museum. There is also an Egyptian room which shows off its own mummy and sarcophagus, identified by Champollion himself in 1832, a 12th century notable funeral stele, ushabtis and funeral vases. The animal world is also well represented in the five downstairs rooms with animals from all the continents : South American birds, African apes, sea creatures, reptiles, butterflies and beetles. The two stuffed seals are named Leon and Arthur and used to live in the town’s public garden. Seals are no longer kept at the Jardin public but you can see its last resident, a female named Flamboyante here. In 1852, Emmanuel Liais was one of the founder members of the "Société Nationale des Sciences Naturelles et Mathématiques de Cherbourg" (Cherbourg's National Institute of Natural Sciences and Mathematics) which still manages Cherbourg's "Library of Science" which was created by the town in 1906 and possesses more than 80,000 books. The park is an oasis of calm in the heart of the town. The garden and greenhouses of the Parc Liais provide a complete change of scenery, a green and pleasant environment where you can discover the only Brazilian jubea spectabilis palm tree in France, Japanese azaleas over a hundred years old, a Lambert cypress and many other exotic species. Another rare species of palm, the prehistoric encéphalartos has existed on the Earth for over 100 million years. The plant can live to be over 2000 and will grow up to 80 meters. Sadly, its disappearance seems inevitable because the two encéphalartos in the Liais greenhouses account for the last two specimens in Europe and both of them are female making any fertilization impossible. The two trees were purchased by the city between 1909 and 1911 and contribute to the glory of 421 varieties of plants spread underneath the 510 square meter greenhouses. Cherbourg's temperate climate allows exotic plants to thrive at uncommon latitudes. The greenhouses shelter the most extraordinary collections of tropical plants : you can go to the heart of a humid tropical forest, and follow that by crossing a cactus desert….