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Cultural and scientific project

A novel concept
In a rural area, with everything under the same roof: Art, Art and Industry, Ethnography, Sciences and Technology.

A large museum which is born by a small town of 2500 inhabitants
IFor the first time in France, we have “in-situ”, from the Decorative Arts period, everything from the sources of inspiration,( to help designers create), to the commercial archives of the firm, all of which is kept in the original buildings !
This unique coherence allowed for this whole set-up to be controlled by the Direction of the French Museums.
The quantity aspect of the collection is quite impressive: 450 000 items, 100 000 of which are of different designs !

The creation of the museum
In 1994, the Retournac Town Council prevented the entirety of the «Auguste Experton et Fils» compagny being scattered by acquiring the factory building and all its content (over 400 000 objects).
The study of the collection lasted a year and a half. In 1996, the French Culture Ministry certified the scientific interest of the stock.
In 1998, the collections were enhanced by the acquisition of the «Claire Experton et Cie» manufacture, which had closed in 1997.
Apart from a remarkable set of over 5000 lace-drawings, the most important part of the collection is the mechanical lace workshop.
The building dates back to 1913-14 and now houses the exhibition areas of the museum.
The «Auguste Experton et Fils» building is today the place where the museum's collections are stored. The workshop will soon be recreated. There is a plan to offer tactile visits for visually-impaired persons.

museum entrylace cushion

Keep a know-how

The shows and display

The know-how is a difficult notion to understand because of its immaterial nature which implies a lot of intelligence and instinct. How to preserve a mostly manual workmanship where mankind is the most interacting part of the procedure. The best way to saveguard the know-how is to keep it active. In the museum this preservation is passed-on by lace-making guides and the mechanical lace workshop. The lace-makers when showing the technique keep the ancestral gestures and bring a dynamic outlook.

The mechanical lace workshop will represent an important part in the passing-on of know-how and preservation since some of the circular braiding machines will be activated. This is the only way to keep these machines in good maintenance order and preservation. The visitor will then face the vision of these lace-making techniques and the atmosphere created by the machines.

Doily in process

The integrated production workshop
The aim of the "integrated workshop" is to saveguard the know-how as well as commercialize the items made within this context. This commercial aspect also participates to the authentic preservation of this know-how.

The term of "integrated production workshop", which was created by the "Fédération des Ecomusées et Musées de Société" designate an activity and a novel concept within museums resulting from the conjunction of several points :

  • a museum with state collections linked to a manufacturing production
  • the will to preserve know-hows linked to the museum by the presence of demonstrations
  • the presence of a museum boutique or a salespoint in the museum offering to the public objects and items having a link with the museum's collection.

Doily in process

In this way, the integrated workshop uses the traditional know-how which was in danger of disappearing, making objects in this way and spreading them through the museum's boutique or trough specialized networks for patrimonial items.


Re-edition of antique items

The museum lacemakers can produce some antique pieces (curtains, doilies, clothing …) after agreement over estimate.
An exceptional piece has just been made at the end of the year 2000 to meet the demand of a private collector. It is a curtain measuring 2.40x3 m with a frill and 5 inserted matching lengths. The chosen model is the lace n°4816 created by the "Experton Frère & Sœur" manufacture around 1900. It was re-drawn and set to card by Catherine Guilhermet, professional lacemaker.


List of integrated production workshop
Several museums, members of the "Fédération des Ecomusées et Musées de Société" develop an integrated production workshop.

Ecomusée du Verre de Biot
c/o La Verrerie de Biot
Chemin des combes • 06410 BIOT
tél. : 04-93-65-03-00 • fax : 04-93-65-00-56
Email : verrerie@verreriebiot.com
Site : www.verreriebiot.com

Musée du Tissage et de la soierie
Tissages, tableaux tissés
Place Vaucanson • 42510 BUSSIÈRES
tél. : 04-77-27-33-95 • fax : 04-77-27-35-05
Email : musee-du-tissage-et-de-la-soierie@wanadoo.fr
Site : www.museedutissage.com

Musée de la Soierie
Soies, tissages, objets à partir de soieries de production locale
9, bd du général Leclerc • BP 14 o 42190 CHARLIEU
tél. : 04-77-60-28-84 • fax : 04-77-60-14-16
Email : museedecharlieu@wanadoo.fr
Site : www.amisdesartscharlieu.com

Musée du Chapeau
Chapeaux en feutre de poil
16 route de Saint-Galmier • 42140 CHAZELLES-SUR-LYON
tél : 04-77-94-23-29 • fax : 04-77-54-27-75
Email :contact@museeduchapeau.com
Site : www.museeduchapeau.com

Tuilerie de Pouligny
tél : 05-55-62-19-61
Site : www.tuilerie-pouligny.com

Musée du Textile
49300 CHOLET
tél : 02-41-75-25-40
Site : www.museedutextile.com

Musée du verre et de ses métiers
tél. : 02-38-92-79-06
Site :www.musee-dordives.fr

Écomusée de l'Avesnois
Textile, Verrerie
Place Maria Blondeau • 59612 FOURMIES Cedex
tél : 03-27-60-66-11 • fax : 03-27-60-88-88
Site : www.ecomusee-avesnois.fr

Ecomusée du Marais breton vendéen
tél : 02-51-93-84-84
Site : www.ecomusee-ledaviaud.com

Ecomusée du Marais salant
17111 LOIX
tél : 05-46-29-06-77
Site : www.marais-salant.com

Musée Atelier-Textile feutre
08210 MOUZON
tél. : 03-24-26-19-91
Email : musee.atelier.du.feutre@wanadoo.fr

Musée des Manufactures de Dentelles
Dentelle du Puy
14 avenue de la gare • 43130 RETOURNAC
tél. : 04-71-59-41-63 • fax : 04-71-59-24-72
Email : musee@ville-retournac.fr
Site : www.ville-retournac.fr/musee/francais/index.html

La Cité des Abeilles
tél : 05-59-83-04-60
Site : www.citedesabeilles.com

Musée de la Coutellerie
Ateliers de fabrication de la Maison des Couteliers
58 rue de la Coutellerie • 63300 THIERS
tél. : 04-73-80-58-86 • fax : 04-73-80-29-39
Email : musee-de-la-coutellerie.Thiers@wanadoo.fr
Site : www.musee-coutellerie-thiers.com

Ecomusée du Haut-Beaujolais
69240 THIZY
tél : 04-74-64-06-48
Site : www.hautbeaujolais.com

Atelier-musée des Tisserands et de la pantoufle charentaise
Tissages, charentaises
Château communal • 24360 VARAIGNES
tél. : 05-53-56-23-60 • fax : 05-53-56-23-67
Email : varaignes.cedp@perigord.tm.fr


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