Musée de la Régence

The Regency Museum is housed in the Regent's palace, a magnificent XVIth century building (1535) constructed in the center of Ensisheim by emperor Ferdinand of Austria. Three different sections deal with History, archaeology and the activities of Alsatian potash miners. The historical department displays an odd assortment of artifacts, worthy of a curio room. The core of the Museum is the famous meteorite which fell in 1492 south of the town, the first reliably confirmed and preserved fall in world history, made famous in one of Jules Verne's novels. A second department is devoted to the miners. The underground world of the potash mine is revealed there through its usual tools, the strong feelings which characterized it: the extremely difficult conditions of work (the stifling heat, the constant noise of the machinery, the isolation in a confined and dangerous space, lit up only by the miners' lamps). From fear to hope, from anger to solidarity... the miners worshipped the Virgin Mary and Saint Barbe but they also questioned gnomes about their future. Also worthy of a visit is the outstanding collection of prehistoric artefacts which opens a window into the Middle Neolithic Age when waves of emigrants from central Europe settled south of Ensisheim during the 5th millenium B.C. Potteries from the Bronze Age to the Gallo-Roman period are also worth seeing as well as artefacts found in tombs.

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