saline royale arc-et-senans - visite - exposition - jardins - hôtel - séminaire - libraire - boutique - résidence artiste
saline royale arc-et-senans - visite - exposition - jardins - hôtel - séminaire - libraire - boutique - résidence artiste

the history of salt

saline royale arc-et-senans - visite - exposition - jardins - hôtel - séminaire - libraire - boutique - résidence artiste

The Arc-et-Senans Royal Saltworks was formally a salt production site, but nowadays it is better known for the architecture of the buildings rather than for the industrial activity that was the root of its existence. A museum area located in the Director’s house tells the story of the production of salt through brine that was transported from Salins-les-Bains by underground pipelines. Beyond this specific activity, the exhibit presents a brief history of the role of salt in peoples’ lives. Visitors can learn about its origins, geography, means of exploitation, and its role as an essential element of taxation under the old regime. Other topics are the important symbolic and ritual roles of salt, and the use of salt from the past to the present.

THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE EXHIBITIon

saline royale arc-et-senans - visite - exposition - jardins - hôtel - séminaire - libraire - boutique - résidence artiste

THE ORIGINS OF SALT

In the first room of the museum, visitors can learn about the origins of salt and wander through the various salt landscapes that show the different forms in which it can be found in a natural state.

 

saline royale arc-et-senans - visite - exposition - jardins - hôtel - séminaire - libraire - boutique - résidence artiste

SALT ROUTES AND SALT TRADE

The fourth room of the museum has a more international dimension again, as it tells the story of the salt routes and of the salt trade. Visitors can follow the salt routes and discover the differences in ways of measuring, packing, and transporting this precious commodity from one continent to another.

 

saline royale arc-et-senans - visite - exposition - jardins - hôtel - séminaire - libraire - boutique - résidence artiste

SALT PRODUCTION

The second room is dedicated to the production of salt by industry, with a presentation made-up of a wide variety of images where the public can discover all forms of salt production techniques, from washing salted earth in Africa, right through to the development of mining techniques in Europe. The organisation and operations are also explained for salt evaporation pans and the development of salt production by boiling brine.

 

saline royale arc-et-senans - visite - exposition - jardins - hôtel - séminaire - libraire - boutique - résidence artiste

THE VALUE OF SALT

The fifth room was given the name ‘Salt, the white gold’, and shows the historical role of salt on a wider scale, from Antiquity, when it was used as currency, to Ghandi’s salt market in the 1930’s. Obviously, the link between salt and taxes is emphasised through a brief explanation of the history of the ‘Gabelle’ tax, its unfair character, and the population’s reactions to it.

 

saline royale arc-et-senans - visite - exposition - jardins - hôtel - séminaire - libraire - boutique - résidence artiste

THE ROYAL SALTWORKS

In the third room of the museum, the focus returns to the Arc-et-Senans Saltworks, in a room that is entirely dedicated to its history, from the creation in 1774 up to its closure in 1895. Archive documents are available to learn about subjects such as the functioning of the salt pipeline connecting the site in Salins-les-Bains, the graduation tower, the production site’s link with the Chaux forest, and certain aspects of the economics and working life on the site.

 

saline royale arc-et-senans - visite - exposition - jardins - hôtel - séminaire - libraire - boutique - résidence artiste

THE USE OF SALT

Finally, the sixth and last room closes the exhibit by showing how salt is used on the one hand, and on the other hand, its past and present symbols, whether it is used as a means of food preservation or the qualities awarded to it in popular belief. The images and objects reveal that salt was used by cooks, butchers and fishmongers, as well as by farmers and leather workers, alchemists and doctors, and by the chemical industry, that in modern day, uses it for the production of carbonates and caustic soda bicarbonates through electrolysis. The exhibit as a whole allows the visitor to understand salt more clearly, a commodity that we have on our table every day.

 

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