The "Ages of Life" gallery draws visitors into a lively setting in which they can discover sumptuous costumes from Bresse and Mâcon, glittering traditional jewellery and a number of symbolic objects. A reconstructed kitchen from Bresse contains furniture that takes on extra significance when we remember that the wattle-and-daub construction of the region did not allow for cupboards. In addition, utensils vividly illustrate what life was like in days gone by.

The first floor is given over to daily life in Dijon at the end of the 19th century. Ten shops have been reconstructed: a drug store, hat shop, furrier, laundry, toy shop window, cake shop and hairdresser’s. All of these shops once operated in the heart of the city. With their original facades, these shops were witness to a way of life that has now disappeared.

This "memory lane", which was produced through the generosity of the people of Dijon, complements the thematic displays: earthenware from Dijon, the bicycle and agri-food industries and so on. A page of history is illustrated with glowing posters that help readers understand what life was really like during that period.

Finally, a trick with mirrors greets visitors to the Dijon hall of fame, where they can see themselves reflected among the notables of the city. To commemorate this event, visitors can go to the photographer’s, get dressed up in their favourite costume and have their picture taken.

On the second floor, a gallery is dedicated to symbols of regional identity. The space covers over 800 square metres under a single roof. On one side, a miniature train brings to life the posters published by the PLM advertising provincial tourist highlights. On the other side, a procession of "santons" in polychrome stone by sculptor Pierre Vigoureux (1884-1965) portrays Burgundians going about their daily activities.

In the centre of the space, the museum’s collections, as well as research undertaken by the Mission du Patrimoine ethnologique, can be used to illustrate themes in three banks of eight showcases. Temporary exhibits can thus benefit from the latest research.

Finally, a picture rail displays amateur and professional photographs. Perhaps the slow-paced life they depict is not so far removed from us as we think. Contemporary photographers like Janine Niepce or Rajak Ohanian have also captured this atmosphere.

Readers can browse through works on Burgundy in the reading room while an audiovisual room presents a weekly program about lost techniques, life stories and different ways of doing things. Seminars and conferences held here help to put exhibitions in perspective. Activities are organized in a children’s workshop and showcases display collections suited to children’s interests.

The Musée de la Vie Bourguignonne not only provides information about the material aspects of a society that has passed away but also on the efforts of our own society to remember it by preserving its physical traces forever.
Musée de la Vie Bourguignonne
Canadian Heritage Information Network

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