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Programming four exhibitions from April to December, attracted an important number of visitors who appreciated equally the variety of the exhibitions, from contemporary textile artist in Design, to the permanent exhibition of the museum. Since July 2007, opening date of the museum in its actual form, we were able to welcome 10,000 visitors in 15 months. During the season 2008, 8,000 visitors came to the museum.
This broth of visitors enabled the staff of the museum to meet, amongst others, a russian delegation at the end of October. With the creation of a museum for hand made lace in Vologda (410 km north of Moscow), Liudmilla Korotaeva, overall director, Tatiana Ushakova, lace department, Angelina Glebova, art department and Sergey Ielev, designer artist, chose to make a rapid tour of the important european lace centres in ten days. After visiting Belgium and Alençon, this delegation was received by Mick Fouriscot of the “Teaching Centre for Bobbin lace” in Le Puy-en-velay, to help them discover the lace heritage of the region.
Before leaving for Cologne and carrying-on with their journey, they came to visit the museum in Retournac. During the visit, with Marie-Christine Mohan as interpreter, accompanied by Pierre Astor, mayor and general councillor, their interest was, apart from the quality and quantity of the items in the collection, the type of display used for the objects ( display cabinets, hanging method, climate management, etc…) and diverse media displays.
There is only one step (or should one say steppeA from Russia to China….Coming from Canton (or Guangzhou), some students studying at the “IUT” in Le Puy-en-Velay, in the field of New Technologies an Communication, were received at the museum by Pierre Astor, mayor and general councillor. They were surprised by the scenography and how modern the museum was, the quality of the collection and the use of high technology along the visit. They were able to discover the know-how of the lace industry as a whole, from the technique of bobbin hand made lace, thanks to a demonstration by the museum’s lace-makers, to the technique of the mechanical made lace with the looms in the workshop. Through this visit, the chinese students appreciated a heritage which is part of the history and identity of the region where they are staying.
These two foreign delegations visiting the museum are but a few examples among all the international visitors (Europeans, Americans even…Australians!) who came to Retournac. We can not of course cite them all, yet we say a friendly hello to the german lace-maker from the Klöppelmuseum in Abenberg who came to the museum in her national dress.