The Association of the Museum of Old Pays-d’Enhaut was founded in 1922.
For many years, tourists would come to the valley bringing with them a fresh eye. Here they discovered tables, furniture and other local objects and tools with exceptional artistic qualities; the usefulness and originality of which had largely escaped the local inhabitants, accustomed as they were to seeing them on a daily basis. Preferring industrially manufactured items, in that they were more practical, lighter and easier to clean, they joyfully threw out their old possessions, which had now become useless, remnants of a bygone way of life. They were delighted that they could sell them to antique dealers, as well as Swiss collectors and foreign collectors. The economic crises that arose would also force some people to part with family treasures.
When witnessing this exodus, a number of far-sighted people realized that there was a major interest in ensuring that these beautiful pieces remained in the country and were preserved for future generations. These men acted unselfishly, instead of collecting artefacts for themselves, as they could have done, they acted for the benefit of the community, sometimes even advancing money for the purchase of a piece of furniture or a stained glass window. They worked with the commitment and dedication of men with a purpose.
The Association initially had very limited resources, without even a building in which to exhibit. For ten years, the committee struggled to recruit members, to raise funds and to organize temporary exhibitions and raffle evenings. The problem of the lack of premises had an unexpected and almost miraculous solution when the Prefect of the Pays-d’Enhaut, Auguste Cottier, died without heirs in 1931. In his will, he set up a foundation to handle his property and the prefecture’s house. The foundation was to be used to develop the museum. The museum was now able to move in to the house and to start welcoming visitors.
A rapprochement with the Swiss Paper Cutting Association (Scherenschnitt Schweiz) initiated over ten years ago, led this institution to entrust us with its collection of over 600 cuttings. This has been exhibited to the public in successive exhibitions.
Demonstrations, training courses, conferences, temporary exhibitions and the library are available to assist lovers of this delicate art in acquiring and expanding their knowledge on the subject.