The new museum course invites you to a discovery of life in Wallonia from the 19th century till the present. A sophisticated scenography depicts objects and archival material and mixes ancient and contemporary elements. The five themes we encounter focus on Walloon society, people, ideas, and know-how... Lots of discoveries, emotions and surprises!
The old Museum of Walloon Life held up a mirror up to the day-to-day activities of the people of Wallonia in days gone, while extolling the rich resources 'under threat' from the standardisation of the modern world. This reality 'from another epoch' was quite unfamiliar to visitors in the year 2000 and the way it was showcased had to be revamped for the benefit of the general public.
The outcome of a state-of-the-art museography and scenographic presentation, the new walkthrough evokes a huge variety of themes and a marvelous range of objects to help visitors discovering life in Wallonia.
From the very outset the presentation of Léopold Harzé's monumental achievement in the form of Liege Market creates the mood decor for the walkthrough. Authentic, shrewdly observant and intricately human.
The eventful moments are then obviously brought into focus, showcasing the stages in this page of the history of Liege's heritage, from the time the monastery was created to the day the museum opened its doors.
The visitor next enters the actual museum walkthrough, to be confronted with three unique perspectives of Wallonia, to awaken the senses, revive its history and invite the visitor to share the region's legendary festive spirit. As contrasted with the Flemish movement, the long march of the Walloon activists led to the creation of the Walloon Region in 1980.
The 'revival' offers another perspective on objects from the past and various dimensions of the region's folklore. A great deal of attention is also paid to economic activities.
Walloon's economic epoch is punctuated by old techniques, (r)evolutions, crises and (re)deployments. From earthen trails to airways, from carrier pigeon to satellites, Wallonia is also involved in the major changes affecting the global transport and communication systems.
When reaching the first floor, visitors come face to face with the last operating guillotine, which keeps alive the still contentious debate about the rights and wrongs of the death penalty.
They are then invited to immerse themselves in the daily activities. Times have changed, as have our homes. Levels of production and consumption have skyrocketed. Clothes, food, homemaking, everything is in a state of flux.
Advertising urges the buying public to consumer more and more. And yet the spiritual life has not been left by the wayside, as underscored by the various dimensions of this issue evoked in the walkthrough.
The deeply entrenched Walloon Catholicism is also tinged with magic and superstition. Popular beliefs have an impact upon our daily lives. Life is marked by festivals and recreational activities, which also build social bridges.
Throughout its history, Wallonia has continued to benefit from other ideological and religious trends.
A look is also taken at social issues, from 1830 to the present day… Our society espouses democratic ideals: solidarity, equality and freedom of conscience. The key question of universal education, another driving force behind changes in Wallonia, is much in evidence, as are the skilful gestures of our craftsmen: visitors are shown the extent to which hands are regarded as tools, making the controlled gestures of virtuoso craftsmen.
The task of rounding off the path of discovery in the museum environment was assigned to the Liege artist Jacques Charlier and the astrophysicist Jaël Nazé from the University of Liege for a universalist and cosmic swerve. We also invite visitors to discover a young, intricate, multidimensional and constantly changing “land”. A human environment regarded from a broad anthropological perspective, both in terms of its past and its present. A cultural variety renowned for its amazing hospitality, thereby highlighting the extremely positive outlook of the Walloon character: unity in diversity.