In 2000, a century and half after the Familistère was founded by Jean-Baptiste André Godin, a public body called the ‘syndicat mixte du Familistère Godin’ was formed to create a new Utopia: to endow the Familistère of today with cultural, tourist, social and economic aims. This vast restoration and development scheme, the Utopia project, was begun by the Aisne department in partnership with the town of Guise and is funded by the Aisne department, the Picardy region, the French state and Europe.
The Familistère at Guise offers a great opportunity to learn more about cooperative values in France and all over the world. The guided tour (optional as visitors can pick a free tour) is highly recommanded to our visitors. It is the best way for them to understand what happened at the Familistère in the 19th century and how Godin achieved his project but also who inspired him. With the new exhibition rooms, visitors can now learn about other past experiences but also actual experiences.
We propose tours. The guided tours give visitors the basis to understand how, why, when Godin built the Familistère. After the tour, visitors have 5.000 sq.m of exhibitions to learn more about the Familistère history and other utopias all over the world (we have a special exhibition room dedicated to these other experiences)
We alors propose a double cultural season: for the museum and the theatre. At the theatre, about 1 show / month (concert, play, circus...). The museum proposes special exhibitions (modern art, contemporary art, linked to cooperative movement), conferences.
How we promote cooperatives’ values and culture
The exhibition rooms called “Les fabriques de l’utopie” is dedicated to social experiments across the world, from 1800 up to today.
Visitors can view a world-wide panorama of nearly 200 such experiments. These communities aim to achieve a global experience of society and to explore what “can be done” in economic, social, intellectual and educational terms. The attempts at manufacturing Utopia presented here fulfil six criteria, at least at some point in their history: they are documented; they are non-religious or secular; they are all-embracing ; they are reforming ; they are open ; finally they are formed at the initiative of individuals or groups of individuals.
A central multi-media system lets you travel around the globe and view the geographical position of these experiments, their representatives and major characteristics. The gallery of objects portrays tangible evidence from these Utopias, while forming an enigmatic collection.
In 2016, Utopian Benches is a sculpture formed by the regrouping, in the same space of benches, - faithful replicas manufactured and used by American and European utopian communities, historical or living.
It is a reflecion on the resistance to the dominant individualism and material in societies. During the exhibition, the benches were used for meetingothers or for public conversations on topics relating to real and actual utopian projects.
dedicated booking service for groups (adults and schools)
meeting rooms and theatre
Facilities for Disabled people
ramps for wheelchairs
reserved parking spaces
specific acces ramp on the floor for blind people