Genesis of the project
Since 2010, Pays Loire Val d'Aubois is labeled "Country of Art and History" by the Ministry of Culture. It is committed to an approach aimed at raising awareness among residents, young people, visitors and professionals about the architectural and landscape quality of the territory. The project which defines itself as a lever for the development of the territory since already more than a decade is that of the valorization of the industrial heritage. Although this territory is rural, one can detect the traces of an important industrial life in the first half of the 19th century. Blast furnaces, forges, workers' housing, canals and factories are visible witnesses of this past among which researchers and associations develop knowledge. The Val d'Aubois thus qualifies for specialists as the example of the French case of the development of industry in rural areas. This solid axis is juxtaposed with other types of built and landscaped heritage: the religious heritage, the fortified heritage, the natural heritage and finally the rural and built heritage (awning barns, wash houses, mills, etc.).
The cultural project "Country of art and history" associates in its approach all the elements, the natural, landscape, architectural and urban inheritance, the technical and ethnological inheritance, which contributes to the identity of a territory in involving citizens and involving stakeholders who participate in the architectural quality and quality of life.
The idea of setting up an interpretation center in this former industrial site along the Berry Canal is already mentioned in the application file for the "Country of Art and History" label. This heritage bears witness to a rich industrial past with in particular the Hoffman kiln of the early twentieth century, consisting of two parallel galleries 32 meters in length.