The ecomuseum of Alsace is a museum entirely dedicated to Alsatian culture. Boring? On the contrary, the ecomuseum is extremely lively. It feels like being in a big village, walking in small streets, stopping at artisans and shopkeepers (blacksmith, carpenter, barber…) and crossing paths with a few farm animals. And it’s actually the mission of this ecomusem: nowadays, the ecomuseum of Ugersheim is the biggest open-air living history museum in France. It was designed and organised as an Alsatian village from the beginning of the 20th century.
The origins of the ecomuseum of Alsace
Everything starts in the 1970s, when a group of young volunteers from the association “Maisons paysannes d’Alsace” takes on the preservation of several dozens of traditional Alsatian houses, that no longer suited their owners, who were looking for example for more comfort. At first, they decided to restore these houses in their respective villages, all the while incorporating the needs for comfort into their work of protection and conservation. In 1980, understanding that it would be impossible to restore all of them on-site, they started a process of dismantling, building the houses back in a conservation agency for the Alsatian house, on an abandoned field. The first house was installed in 1980 and this is how the ecomuseum was founded. It would officially be inaugurated in 1984. Since then, Alsatian people donate many old objects, to furnish the houses. Today, the ecomuseum has a splendid collection of furniture, of farming equipment and of old objects.
Since 2014, the ecomuseum takes part in reflections about the major challenges of the future in terms of housing, biodiversity, agriculture and “living together”.
Let’s visit the ecomuseum!
Made up of over 70 buildings all coming from Alsace (houses, farms, chapels, schools…), the ecomuseum allows for a good overview of the Alsatian architecture. The buildings are therefore real Alsatian houses that have been moved to the ecomuseum to preserve them. Yes, you can move half-timbered houses: beams are separated and numbered, to then be reassembled correctly. Unbelievable, isn’t it? They are all stunning and perfect to get a taster of Alsace architecture.
In the village, you will find artisans in activity, such as the potter or the blacksmith. Other houses are brought to life by interpreter-guides or volunteers. In the houses, you will find some small exhibitions about Alsatian culture and old occupations or activities. For example, you can attend a class in an Alsatian school from the 1930s, observe the blacksmith at work, learn more about plants, flowers or beehives, make bread, feed farm animals, listen to tales, take part in a lute-making workshop or taste dishes with flavors from the past. It is also possible to go around in a horse carriage, to take a boat ride or even a tractor ride. The programme of exhibitions and activities is very varied and changes regularly, so don’t hesitate to go back again and again.
Many volunteers contribute to the ecomuseum of Alsace, to make it as lively as possible: congratulations to them, this museum has become one of my favorites!
At Christmas, the ecomuseum also organises special activities for the season. If you are interested, please have a look at my article about Christmas at the ecomuseum of Alsace.
- The superb reconstruction of the village: it is very pleasant to walk around.
- Discovering Alsatian culture while having fun.
- The numerous and really good activities on offer: it’s impossible to get bored!
- Many storks on the roofs!
- Pass Alsace partner
I liked a little less
- Beware in case of rain: you can still run from one building to another, but the visit will be less charming!
My pictures of the Ecomuseum of Alsace
Opening days and times
The Ecomuseum of Alsace is not open all year long. You will find here the opening days and times of the Ecomuseum of Alsace.
There are many varied activities happening all day long, except at lunch time. You can have a look on the Ecomuseum agenda.
The address is as follows: Chemin du Grosswald, 68190 Ungersheim. It is located:
- 16 km from Mulhouse (about 20 minutes drive)
- 35 km from Colmar (about 35 minutes drive)
- 112 km from Strasbourg (about 1h20 drive)
By public transport
For more information, please have a look at the Ecomuseum website.
You can also check your itinerary directly on Vialsace.
The Ecomuseum of Alsace has a bakery (bread is made on the premises), a restaurant and a brasserie with reasonable prices. I have not tried any of them. There are also many pique-nique tables in very cute places. It is ideal for a pleasant break!