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An ecomuseum is a more lively sort of museum than most and the one at Chambon Feugerolles is particularly lively. Noise, light and perpetual movement to take you back to the daily lives of the people who worked here, and the water, source of life and work.
The water uses interpretation centre is "Everything you ever wanted to know about water without ever daring to ask".
Not so surprising when you know that round here life depends on a bit of water and a steel wire. No actually, a lot of water and a lot of steel, which created a lot of work. Which explains a lot of things.
A short summary, with lots of pleasure.
First of all, there was the Brunon family, owners of one of the most prosperous metalworking firms in the region. Which was partly because of the water.
But time moves on, things change and buildings end up closing, but the family want the memory of this glorious past to live on.
The town, for its part, wants to pay tribute to the men, their work, and what gave them their force, water. The family gifts the site. The town does the rest. Fair trade.
And after 10 years of work, the ecomuseum opens.
Careful staging, with - behind glass - the turbines, shears and rolling mills used by the metalworkers and always in the background, water power and pride. To hell with water, let's have some champagne!
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