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Gaumais Museums -- Montquintin Museum of Peasant Life

Photos 11061412.JPGThe main building houses the kitchen and handsome bedroom, known as "péle" in Gaumais dialect, cleverly arranged around the hearth, the sole source of heat until the appearance of the wood-burning stove in the 18th century. The Lorraine-style furnishings and the household objects on display give a good idea of the activities undertaken in everyday life, right up to the between-the-wars years. The outbuildings illustrate types of rural transport and their tack, techniques of acquisition such as agriculture and livestock farming through the use of vehicles (wagon with side panels, highsided wagons) and an array of tools (from the swing-plough to the winnowing basket) used until the mid-20th century. A re-created classroom conjures up memories of the old village school, installed in the tithe farm in the 19th century. Formerly a tithe farm built in 1765, then a communal school during the 19th century, the Museum of Peasant Life was opened in 1965, and offers a faithful illustration of traditional rural architecture. This fine building in three sections, made with indigenous materials, includes a main building, a barn, and a cowshed surmounted by a hayloft. The walls, built with "local stone"--a calcareous sandstone susceptible to frost--require a protective whitewash. This procedure incidentally reveals the local character of such housing, by showing the form of the stone through the coating of lime, and, depending on the sun's position, encouraging noteworthy interplays of light and shadow. The windows are underscored by an ochre-hued distemper, and punctuate the façade. The Roman-tiled--also known as "canal"-tiled--roof is set at a shallow angle.
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