It seems that today everything has to go really fast. Too fast perhaps! Passing from one fashion craze to the other, and discovering new life-easing technologies every day, it becomes increasingly harder for us to picture how our ancestors used to live in the XIXth century.
The Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires in Wattrelos reverses the tendency and offers a great collection of objects, nowadays impossible to find, but that were a true part of everyday life 150 years ago.
In this museum, built in a former Picard traditional farm, the objects are not left to be observed lying on a mantelpiece, or the stalls of an antique dealer. Instead, they are staged up in lively scenes that narrate home life, work environment or leisure time.
In the Flemish kitchen, discover the coal oven that used to provide warmth for the whole family during the long winter evenings, at times when the only ways to light up the room were gas lamps, or candles.
Visit the cockfight arena and discover a reconstitution of this typical regional game.
The ladies will appreciate a visit at the tailor’s, and finding out that today’s fashion has nothing on XIXth century fashion, as far as couture is concerned! Elegant coats, well cut trousers; back in the day, not being elegant for the Sunday out was just impossible. Alongside millinery pins, an assortment of buttons from different eras lay by the sewing machine, looking like it’s waiting to be used. One of the very first steam irons is warming up nearby – something to compare to today’s offer, and not complain so much about our chores!
The museum also offers a documentation centre for anyone wishing to deepen their understanding of the subject. A lot of vocabulary to be learned..!
A moving trip for anyone nostalgic to take!