26 May 2017
The word “economuseum” raises a lot of questions and sparks plenty of interest. Some confuse the term with ecomuseum. Others mistake it for an economic museum! Perceptions abound and they are often light-years from reality. Semantically speaking, the word “economuseum” combines the concepts of economy and museum. But its linguistic definition belies a more captivating story. Welcome to the world of economuseums.
Artisans open their doors
An ÉCONOMUSÉE® is an artisanal enterprise that operates in the field of fine crafts or the agri-food sector and uses authentic knowledge to produce its commodities. An ÉCONOMUSÉE® showcases artisans and their trade. The concept allows artisans to open their workshops to the public so they can share their knowledge and passion and sell products made on the premises. An ÉCONOMUSÉE® helps visitors discover local culture, support the regions and their local economy, and contribute to the promotion of unique and authentic products. In the current era of globalization and mass production, a little foray into the world of artisans and enterprises that value all things local can be a breath of fresh air.
What happens when you walk through the doors of an ÉCONOMUSÉE®? You are received! This word is more than a simple cliché or an empty promise; it is written into the DNA of all artisan members of the ÉCONOMUSÉE® network. An ÉCONOMUSÉE® has six components, one of which is “reception.” While the artisan members of our Society are chosen for the quality of their work, they must also enjoy sharing their passion and their knowledge with the public.
- The Artisans du sable, have perfected a product that solidifies sand that is then sculpted into a variety of products.
- Touverre will blow warm glass, transforming it into an elegant vase before your wondering eyes. “Boutiques,” the sixth economuseum component, allow visitors to bring home a tangible souvenir of their visit and of their time spent with the artisan.
- The Papeterie Saint-Gilles in Charlevoix’s Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive was the first ÉCONOMUSÉE® in Quebec. That was in 1992.
Today the network includes more than 30 economuseums province-wide, with nearly half from the field of fine crafts and the rest from the agri-food sector. There are economuseums in most tourist regions, with a higher concentration in the main hubs. Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, for example, has eight, and the Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Charlevoix each have four.