At the end of the nineteenth century erudites in many parts of France created folklore museums. In Burgundy, Maurice Perrin de Puycousin (1856-1949), a lawyer and a renowned collector of examples of folk culture, especially costumes, initiated this trend by holding temporary expositions and then went on to establish three museums: at his own home in Tournus, where in 1870-1920 he presented his collections, once again in Tournus in 1929 and, finally, in Dijon in 1935, when he donated his collection of regional costumes, furniture and household utensils. The latter collection was created in Aubriot, a residence open to the public in 1938-1970 as 'Musee Perrin de Puycousin'. The museum was ultimately closed due to the deteriorating state of the collection, which several years later was entrusted to the newly opened 'Musee de la Vie Bourguignonne', whose task was to document the traditions of the region and town of Dijon. The ground floor of the museum building featured the restored Perrin de Puycousin collection, illustrating life in southern Burgundy at the end of the nineteenth century. The museum referred to the conception launched by the collector, and with the assistance of original wax mannequins recreated three dioramas: a wedding procession, a kitchen, and a bedroom, all showing scenes from everyday life. The organisers introduced explanations placed directly on the showcases in order to surround the exhibits with a suitable narration. The first-floor galleries, opened in 1994, display 150-years old Dijon traditions - commercial, industrial and intellectual - from 1789 to 1939. The show reconstructed a pharmacy, a drugstore, a laundry, a milliner's, furrier's and watchmaker's workshops, and a photographic studio, and presented the industrial traditions of the city connected with, i. a. the production of mustard, faience and Pernot biscuits. Temporary exhibitions, featuring the customs of the town and the region, its past and daily life are the outcome of research conducted by the museum and offer an excellent occasion for a dialogue with the visitors by referring to their experiences, stirring their memories, and obtaining successive donations. Such exhibitions include, i. a. a presentation of the military past of Dijon, which was one of the elements of its identity as a garrison town since 1870, or an exposition recreating a village classroom, with the visitors sitting at the school desks to share their recollections. In this fashion the museum documents the traditions of the region, serves the commemoration of its daily life, and conducts an incessant dialogue with the visitors, whose role has been emphasised from the very onset of its existence: 'The residents of Dijon are the authors of its memory'. The importance of the museum for regional identity is evidenced by the names of several hundred donators, engraved on a wall of one of the showrooms and paying homage to those who via their contributions participated in the creation of the museum.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.