What is an Ecomuseum...
It is a school, inasmuch as it involves the local population in its activities, studying and protecting the regional heritage and in facing the challenges of its own future.
It is a mirror for this population to view itself and where it can gain a greater understanding and awareness of its region and of the inhabitants who lived there before, seen either as circumscribed in time or in terms of the continuity of generations.
It gives an insight into what tomorrow might be, while having no pretentions to decision-making, its function being rather to inform and critically analyse
What is the Écomusée d'Alsace?
It is a living museum village
The Écomusée d’Alsace is the largest living open-air museum in France and shows an Alsatian village from the early 20th century. It illustrates what rural life was like in Alsace and invites visitors to find out about popular traditions and art of the region, including buildings and artefacts, craftsmen at work, temporary exhibitions, attractions and events both small and large.
It is a mirror of regional heritage
Experience what life was like in rural Alsace and explore the extraordinary heritage of the Écomusée d’Alsace, with its houses, crafts, cooking, agriculture and also its surroundings with its gardens, river and fields.
A unique experience
Traditional festivities, daily activities and events for all the family, remarkable exhibitions, rides on boats or in tractor or horse-drawn carriages, participative workshops and classes – in the Écomusée the attractions, events and entertainment are for sharing with friends or family, all through the seasons. At Easter, for example there is the conscripts’ egg race, then at other times of the year, the Whitsun parade, the harvest festival, summer nights, a folk music festival, and much more.
Active for more than 30 years
In 1971, the traditional Alsatian architectural heritage was coming under severe threat and a group of highly motivated young people decided to act to maintain and preserve this heritage. A first house was rescued from demolition in 1980 and rebuilt on wasteland provided by the village of Ungersheim. This was the beginning of the long adventure of the Écomusée d’Alsace. The museum opened its doors to visitors on 1 June 1984 and celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014.
A conservation site
The Écomusée d’Alsace comprises over 70 buildings from all over Alsace, including houses, farms, a school, a chapel, a train station and a sawmill. The museum shows the main types of Alsatian architecture, representative of their origins and social group. The houses have been fitted out with furniture and everyday objects through donations made by the people of Alsace. The museum’s collection contains some 40,000 objects and articles, including furniture, everyday items, clothing, tools and farming machinery, dating from the mid-19th century to the 1950s.
The museum has begun to build a special area on the outskirts of the village, devoted to the houses and lifestyles of tomorrow, which will feature a whole new generation of events and activities.
An experience for sharing
In 2014, the museum also started turning its attention to the major challenges that tomorrow holds in store for us for the environment, agriculture, nature and “living together”.
A new area, “Living in the 21st century”, heralds the start of this new project, which shows that the Écomusée d’Alsace is also very much a museum of today’s society, an instrument for remembering the past, for thinking about the present and for better inventing the future.