The museum is located in a former woolen mill established by Théophile Legrand. I am grateful to be staying in the house of Théophile Legrand, a château now beautifully transformed into an elegant hotel-Château de la Marlière
The Museum brings the industrial past of Fourmies to the fore with live demonstrations of a vast collection of textile machinery.
The social history of the area can also be discovered with reconstructions of typical domestic and public settings, getting a glimpse into the lives of its citizens.
The hidden treasure of the museum is its vast fabric archive, an invaluable source that could be further utilised to attract designers, makers, historians and textile enthusiasts to the area.
Some of the Écomusée team and I visited the Tissuthèque (fabric library) in La Piscine, Roubaix. For inspiration on how to further enhance and develop the material archive in Fourmies to become a center of excellence for visitors and a key component in the development of the textile lab. See our visit below.
The second site visit with the Écomusée team was to the textile museum, Tilberg, The Netherlands. Where a fully functioning textile lab operates within the museum. The space is utilised by designers/makers and accessible to visitors. It was a very inspiring visit which shows the potential for the future textile lab in the Écomusée.
This week has been spent exploring and discovering what shape the textile lab should take to best suit the already established identity of the museum. Speaking to the Écomusée team they are passionate about maintaining the integrity of the museum, while also wanting to breathe new life and activity into the space, as they recognise that the museum has the potential to further attract both local and international interest. Going forward, striking a balance between the old and the new will be fundamental.