Coming to Strasbourg? Get ready to take a trip back in time with a visit to the Historical Museum of the City of Strasbourg! Located in the heart of the city, this museum will transport you through the rich history of Strasbourg, from the medieval era to the building of the European institutions.
The museum's exhibits showcase the city's cultural, social, and economic evolution over the centuries. You'll see medieval artifacts, Renaissance art, and even items from the Industrial Revolution.
A historic museum in the former Grand Boucheries of Strasbourg The Historical
Museum of the City of Strasbourg was founded in 1867 by historian Georges Weill in the former Grand Boucheries of Strasbourg. This iconic building on the Grande Île, ideally located on the banks of the Ill river next to the Old Customs House and the Corbeau bridge, indeed hosted the Grand Boucheries of Strasbourg from 1587 to 1899, before being transformed into the Museum of Decorative Arts and inaugurated by Emperor William II himself. In 1919, it was transformed into the Historical Museum. That's the quick (and delightful) history of this must-see building.
Today, it presents a permanent exhibition tracing the history of Strasbourg from its origins to the present day. From the free city, to the revolutionary city, through the European capital, you can travel back in time thanks to a beautiful collection of objects and interactive interventions.
Collections that follow the history of the city
The visit is chronological and follows the history of Strasbourg through three major stages: the free city of the Holy Roman Empire (1262-1681), the revolutionary city (1681-1800), and finally the European capital (19th and 20th century). I highly recommend taking the free audio guide at the entrance, which will accompany you with very informative comments. The collections are well highlighted and very well explained, and a lot of emphasis is placed on interaction with objects that you can touch, manipulate or try on. The museum reminds me a bit of the Museum of London.
The real Strasbourg Homme-de-Fer
Have you ever heard of the Homme de Fer? The one who gave his name to the famous Strasbourg square now sits at the Historical Museum, replaced by a replica above the pharmacy. In front of the original, you can also try on soldiers' helmets. Would you make a good Iron Man (or Woman)?
Around you, you will find a collection of military objects, Strasbourg coins, and other medieval relics. You will also see the old town hall, through an ultra-realistic model. In the other exhibitions, you will discover information about the daily life of the inhabitants of Strasbourg, their work, their nutrition, their lifestyle, as well as the important events that marked the history of the city.
Some must-see elements of the museum
The Historical Museum is full of treasures. Here are some works or objects not to be missed during your visit:
- The real Homme de Fer: the original statue is exhibited in the museum
- The Zurichois pot: transported by boat in 1576 in less than a day, it arrived smoking and proved that Strasbourg's allies could count on their help.
- The costume of the "Belle Strasbourgeoise": inspired by a work by Nicolas de Largillière exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, it shows the clothing of the time and the differences between social classes.
- The Ladevèze Relief Plan: a reconstruction of Strasbourg in 1727 to imagine the defense of the city. Have fun looking for the places you know and observing the evolution of the city.
- The painting of La Marseillaise: painted by Isidore Pils, it shows Rouget de L'Isle performing his composition written the day before in front of Baron de Dietrich, Strasbourg's mayor
- The figurines of the Imperial Guard: 60,000 small paper figurines represent the soldiers of the Imperial Guard and the Confederation of the Rhine of the First Empire. Their details are impressive.
- The Prussian shell: many shells fell on Strasbourg in 1870 and some are still visible in some facades. At the Historical Museum, you can touch an authentic one.
- The flag of the liberation of Strasbourg: the authentic tricolor flag was hoisted on the spire of the cathedral at the arrival of the 2nd Armored Division of General Leclerc in 1944. It was hastily made by a butcher from her blue skirt, an old white cloth and a piece of the Nazi flag for the red.
In addition to the permanent exhibition, the museum regularly organizes temporary exhibitions on various themes, which allow you to discover other aspects of the city's and region's history. Do not hesitate to check their website to find out about upcoming exhibitions and opening hours.
My opinion on the Historical Museum of the City of Strasbourg
In summary, the Historical Museum of the City of Strasbourg is an exciting place for those interested in the history of the city and its region. The visit is informative and interactive, even for children, and you will learn a lot about the city, regardless of your level of historical knowledge.
So if you're in the mood for a little history lesson, or just want to learn more about Strasbourg, be sure to check out the Historical Museum of the City of Strasbourg. It's a great way to spend an afternoon, and you'll come away with a deeper appreciation for the city's past and present. Don't hesitate to visit it during your next trip to Strasbourg, you'll love it!