Musée de la mémoire ouvrière, Mines et Mineurs de Provence


Useful Information

Location: La Tuilière, 04300 Saint-Maime.
(43.900545, 5.792920)
Open: French School Holidays daily 14-17.
[2023]
Fee: free.
[2023]
Classification: MineCoal Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: A=383 m asl.
Guided tours:  
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography:  
Address: Musée de la mémoire ouvrière, Mines et Mineurs de Provence, La Tuilière, 04300 Saint-Maime, Tel: +33-492-79-55-42.
Mairie De Saint-Maime, La Tuilière, 04300 Saint-Maime, Tel: +33-492-79-58-15. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1874 begin of lignite mining.
1949 Bois d'Asson mine in Saint-Maime closed.
1985 association l’Œuvre au Noir de Saint-Maime founded.
01-MAY-2000 museum opened to the public.
2003 replica headframe erected.

Geology

The Forcalquier basin is the lignitiferous basin of the Alpes de Haute Provence.

Description

Musée de la mémoire ouvrière, Mines et Mineurs de Provence (Museum of workers' memory, Mines and Miners of the Provence) is a bombastic name. Among the long and hard to pronounce names, this one has a special place. We were quite astonished that it seems never to be shortened.

This museum presents the exploitation of the lignitiferous basin of the Alpes de Haute Provence between 1874 and 1949. Near Saint-Maime there were five large industrial mines, Le Bois d'Asson in Saint-Maime, Gaude in Manosque, Sigonce, Le Collet Rouge, and Le Puits Neuf which is also known as Puits du Foulon. The result of the mining is still visible, there are slag heaps and a lot of abandoned industrial architecture. The original headframe was dismantled after the closure of the mine in 1949, but in 2003 a replica was erected. The museum and the false headframe were the work of the association l’Œuvre au Noir de Saint-Maime which was founded in 1985 to preserve the industrial heritage. The published about half a dozen books on the topic.

The museum has numerous mine models, a reconstruction of the paleo-environment, explanations on the formation of carbonaceous rocks. There are photographs of the abandoned mines while they were still operating. There is also an old mining train with narrow gorge in front of the museum. The museum has some remaining mine buildings, which includes the old engine room, the changing room with the hangers for the clothes, and the reconstructed headframe.

But as the name says, this is a museum dedicated to the workers, it explains their "rants", their strikes, their anger, their origins, their immense generosity and solidarity. In other words there are stories from former miners, photographs, objects, which tell about their daily life.

The museum was created on the initiative of Pierre Bonnet, who created the asociation L'oeuvre au noir for this purpose. He received some financial aid from the Ministry of Culture and opened the Miners' Memory Museum on 01-MAY-2000.