The Wesserling Park – Textile Eco-Museum is to be found in north-west France in theAlsace region, housed in a former internationally renowned textile mill: the Royal Wesserling Mill, founded in 1762. Its location on the border with Germany and Switzerland has had a positive impact on the past and the present of this architectural complex.
In 1986 the General Council of Haut-Rhin acquired ownership of 17 hectares of parkland around the castle and embarked on a conservation, education and industrial heritage management project for the park we know today.
The Wesserling Park – Textile Eco-museum comprises three sites: the Textile Museum, the gardens, and the Main Boiler Room.
The Wesserling Textile Museum first opened its doors in 1996, housed in a former printing mill dating from 1819. The Haute-Alsace Textile Eco-museum today explains the transformation of the region over the course of history, through its permanent exhibition. The display features representations of the former crafts of the textile industry courtesy of dramatised visits depicting every stage of the process required in order to produce printed cotton.
The Textile Museum also stages annual exposicions temporary exhibitions concerning the history of the castle, and a range of themes all connected with the world of textiles.
The second site open to visitors is the Main Boiler Room, the former power plant which generated electricity, steam and hot water to supply the entire factory, and where three coal boilers can still be seen. This is a now a venue for artistic expression and display focused on contemporary art, and staging temporary exhibitions.
The third site to be visited at the Wesserling Park comprises 5 gardens surrounding the castle and giving it a privileged setting with a range of ambiences and outstanding heritage qualities. These gardens are dedicated to artistic and contemporary expression by expert gardeners, as well as serving as areas for discovery and leisure open to the general public.
As demonstrated by the numerous events staged in the gardens, such as international festivals and open days featuring entertainment on summer nights.
A visit to the Wesserling Park provides an insight into a project to restore former industrial spaces, which have now become heritage sites. The project is explained by Francois Tacquard (President of the Wesserling Textile Park Association) in the address entitled “Why create a European Network of “Beautiful city-factories” in rural areas of territorial redevelopment” presented at the International Congress of Worker Settlements and Factory Cities, held in October 2018 at the mNACTEC.