From an associative museum to a municipal museum accredited “Museum of France”
It was in the year 1938 that Messrs. Michon, Duval and Quentin, members of the initiative Syndicat of Crépy had the idea to create a museum on local folklore and the history of the Valois in Crépy-en-Valois. The first collections, mainly ethnographic, gathered everyday objects and came together thanks to the donations of the town residents. The museum opened its doors on March 26 1939. Unfortunately, it was forced to close when the hostilities of the Second World War began in 1940. The castle then underwent bombing from May to August 1944.
After the war, Mr. Michon and the Scart family met two famous specialists of traditional French society, Messrs. Georges-Henri Rivière and Roger Lecotté. These two scholars suggested that the museum dedicate itself to the traditions displayed by archery companionships, especially active in the North of France. With the help of the Friends of the Valois Association, the Archery museum opened in 1949. It was inaugurated during the “Bouquet Provincial” organized in Crépy-en-Valois that same year.
Mr. Roger Scart, a “Chevalier d’arc” (an archer who belongs to an archery “family” or companionship), voluntarily took the direction of the associative museum that rapidly acquired the status of “controlled museum”. Mr. Scart remained in his post until his death in 1959. Mrs Pierrette Scart, his wife, then took over. During that time, the archery collections were regularly enlarged by acquisitions and donations. Gradually, under the impulse of the town and the Friends association, new rooms of the old castle opened to the public: the Saint Aubin Chapel in 1955, the Great Hall in 1960 and the Sainte Marie High Chapel in 1974.
Furthermore, following sacred art exhibitions organized by Mr. Gouble, at the museum as well as in the Valois, several communes from three neighboring cantons, expressed the desire to deposit the religious artifacts they owned in the museum. In order to legally receive these multiple deposits, the museum went under the administrative control of the Crépy-en-Valois commune in 1974 and thus became a municipal museum.
The general evolution of museums led the Direction of Museums of France to ask to the town to hire a professional as its director. This curator was in charge of the scientific aspect of the museum without being exclusively attached to it while Mr. Philippe Gouble continued to handle everyday life matters until 2004. The museum was exclusively directed by Mrs. Marie-José Salmon, chief curator of the Oise departmental museum until 1996, then by Mr. Nicolas Dejardin-Hayart (1996-1998), assistant curator, then by the Oise ecomuseum (1999-2002) and Mr. Eric Blanchegorge (2004-2011). Under the latter’s direction, the “controlled museum” became a museum with the “Museum of France” accreditation, in accordance with the Law on Museums promulgated on Jan. 4 2002.
The museum today
Since 2012 and the arrival of Mrs. Marion Roux-Durand, assistant curator, the museum has its own direction.