Musee de Villele
The Musee de Villele, or the Villele Historical Museum, is a significant historical institution on the island of Reunion, a French overseas department in the Indian Ocean. The museum is situated in the heights of Saint-Paul in an area known as Villele. It occupies a grand house that was once the residence of Mrs. Desbassayns, a prominent landowner and slaveholder during the era when the island was still referred to as Bourbon and functioned as a French colony.
The museum's collections, managed by the Department of La Reunion, feature furniture and a wide array of everyday objects from the past. Visitors to the museum are also invited to explore the annex buildings scattered across the property, which covers more than ten hectares. This estate, known as the Villèle estate, is protected as a Historical Monument. Among the notable structures on the property are the Pointale Chapel, the former slave hospital, and the old kitchen, which is distinguished by its large stoves.
The Musee de Villele was inaugurated in 1976, marking it as the first museum established following the departmentalization of the island. Toward the end of 2007, the museum underwent a lengthy period of renovation, aimed at enhancing the safety of the buildings and reducing instances of vandalism. As part of these improvements, new signage was installed to provide a better navigational experience for visitors. This update also extended to the former sugar factory located on the premises.
As of May 2008, the curator of the museum is Jean Barbier. The Musee de Villele stands as a testament to the island's complex and multifaceted history, offering visitors an insightful look into the past through its diverse collection and historic structures.
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