Whilst at the conference ‘Collectionner la révolution française’ we had a little chance to explore the Museum’s collections and we were luckily enough to be shown the library as well as have free access to the ‘fonds ancien’. The museum is actually set in the former presidential chateau (seeing a state of the art bathroom from over half a century ago was an experience!), but most of the space has been redesigned in a thoroughly modern way to display the Museum’s fascinating collections.
The museum also has a very precious resource which might be of interest to the Revolutionary Researchers, the ‘centre de documentation-bibliothèque Albert Soboul’ with over 27,000 works. 3,000 are dedicated to history of art during the period, 20,000 to French Revolutionary historiography, 4,000 in the ‘fonds ancien’, 36,000 prints and 25,000 microfiches, not to mention the press at the time. The ‘fonds ancien’ was particularly interesting. Taking the example of poetry and theatre, the centre de documentation had some remarkable bound collections of Revolutionary plays which were deemed to be ‘political’ as well as some beautiful first editions.
What is more, the Museum and centre de documentation are able to accommodate researchers free of charge in the gothic tower (see their conditions below). Speaking to several of the academics who had worked there, they said it was a fantastic and idyllic experience, and an opportunity well worth taking up!
For more information see: http://www.domaine-vizille.fr/396-le-centre-de-documentation-albert-soboul.htm